It’s Loneliness Awareness Week which poses an opportunity to talk about the fantastic work of our Independent Living Officers and Hub Supervisors who work year-round to combat loneliness. Because we know that anyone, of any age, can feel lonely, we want to share some of the ways they tackle loneliness in the hope that it can help those experiencing it now.
We also know that this year has been challenging for us all, and as part of the challenges posed by an unfamiliar way of life, we have all experienced loneliness. Whether we’ve been surrounded by family or been isolating alone, the sense of collective isolation we have all felt has shown that it can happen to anyone.
Creating a sense of togetherness
Our colleagues in Independent Living work hard to find ways to bring residents together and create a sense of community at our schemes. This can be achieved by introducing new residents to their neighbours, encouraging conversation and promoting coffee mornings in communal areas. Hub Supervisors and Independent Living Officers support residents to feel confident when approaching new friends, providing icebreakers and social opportunities wherever appropriate.
Our colleagues work closely with external services to connect residents to support groups and bring social activities to schemes. By working with partners, we can create more opportunities for safe social gatherings in normal settings, allowing residents to get out of their individual living space and spend time with their neighbours. Our partners have also been able to provide activity sheets for residents while they’ve had to stay home. We feel passionate about working in partnership, as it means greater support for residents and more opportunities for creating new friendships.
Understanding individual needs
We know that everyone is different so our colleagues take time to really get to know residents in order to understand what will make the best difference to their life. By carrying out daily interactions – socially distanced at the moment, and more personal in normal circumstances – the team can identify support groups, refer to befriending schemes and social networks and encourage activities that all help to combat the sense of loneliness many of us feel.
Offering personal support
We also wanted to take this opportunity to highlight some of the inspiring efforts of our colleagues in Independent Living and beyond to support customers during the COVID-19 crisis. While they haven’t been able to provide services in the usual way, they have successfully adopted new modes of working to ensure the wellbeing of customers.
We hope you feel as inspired as we do reading these.
- Having a small VE Day celebration with a World War II veteran, including the hanging of flags to celebrate the resident’s bravery.
- Undertaking shopping, laundry duties and other personal tasks for residents who couldn’t see family during the government directive to stay home.
- Offering increased wellbeing support to colleagues who experienced loneliness during this period including telephone calls and advice.
- Creating personalised quizzes and activities.
- Introducing the Buddy Club, a welfare scheme that provides daily conversation for customers isolating alone.
If you are experiencing loneliness and want to find out more about the support available, visit Let’s Talk Loneliness. You can also self-refer to our Buddy Club by calling Radian Direct on 0300 123 1 567.