A new befriending event –‘Friendship Friday’ is launching in Newton Mearns this week, to offer extra support to older people living locally who may be experiencing loneliness.
The project, which has been set up by retirement housebuilders, McCarthy and Stone, aims to provide a vital friendship link for those feeling isolated, by inviting them to a special afternoon tea where they will have the chance to meet some new friends and faces in a relaxing and supportive environment.
The free event will take place at McCarthy and Stone’s Greenwood Grove Retirement Living development on Stewarton Road on Friday, January 18 between 2pm-3.30pm.
It comes off the back of some recent findings into attitudes towards loneliness in Scotland.
McCarthy and Stone found that 34 per cent of over-65s often feel lonely – particularly when they are home alone. Around 39 per cent said being lonely makes them feel sad, and 34 per cent admit to feelings of depression.
More than one in five said being lonely makes them feel invisible, while 42 per cent said they can’t bear to have people worrying about them.
Ken McArdle, House Manager at Greenwood Grove said: “Friendship Fridays is all about reconnecting older people with their wider community. At McCarthy and Stone, we are committed to enriching the lives of older people and their families, and we know that engaging in local activities
they enjoy, and helping them to maintain their independence, is a big part of this.
“Many older people living locally might be afraid to admit they’re feeling lonely because they’re embarrassed or don’t want to be seen as a burden. We want to put an end to some of the stigma around loneliness, and show them that it’s a completely natural way to feel and something we can all experience from time to time.”
Encouragingly, eight in 10 over-65s in Scotland have used Facebook in a bid to stay in touch with friends and family, and a further one in 10 have taken to dating again. Shopping sprees, going for walks and volunteering in their community were just some of the ways Scottish retirees are combatting loneliness.
Ken continues: “Our research showed that many older people are feeling lonely, but many are also proactively looking for new ways of finding friendship and getting involved locally.
“Our event is a great opportunity for anyone in this position who may be lacking in confidence, or who just needs someone to talk to, to pop along for tea and a chat and to enjoy the company of like-minded individuals in a warm and welcoming environment.”