The pandemic has exacerbated existing loneliness in older people and pushed many more into being lonely. Whilst most of us are returning to ‘normal’, there are many older people who are still stuck in isolation. Without support, they may never emerge from a life of little to no human contact or have their enjoyment of life restored.
Re-engage is the only national charity seeking to alleviate isolation and loneliness in the over 75s and do this in recognition that the over 75s are an often overlooked and underserved group.
“We know that many older people experience chronic social isolation and loneliness, and Re-engage's tea parties, call companions service, and activity groups provide a vital lifeline of friendship and a chance to connect with other people. Players and the whole team at People's Postcode Lottery are getting behind Re-engage and are part of helping us to continue the work we do which is having a profound impact on the lives of older people.”
Kitty Blackwell, Re-engage director of fundraising and communications
The charity offers free social groups and a telephone befriending service bringing much needed social connections to people aged 75 and over who are lonely, isolated or in need of companionship.
Kathleen is a member of the West Lothian tea party group.
“After my husband died, I was devasted. I felt so lonely. I have a wonderful family who support me, but they’ve got their own lives. The Re-engage tea parties were a lifeline for me.
“I was a bit apprehensive at first, but I met other people just like myself. I remember the time when a neighbour of mine from thirty years ago joined our group!
Betty and Manuela both joined call companions, the charity’s telephone befriending service, last year. Volunteer Manuela rings Betty for regular chats and they have become great friends.
“I really look forward to Manuela’s weekly calls. She even phones me when she’s on holiday and I even had an extra call on Christmas Day. Our chats give me such a lift.” said Betty.
Support from players of the People’s Postcode Lottery helps Re-engage run its companionship programmes, bringing real pleasure to older people through conversation, laughter and, crucially, giving them something to look forward to. The programmes have a remarkable impact on the happiness and wellbeing of older people, with 93% saying that joining Re-engage has had a positive impact on their lives.
Players can watch Re-engage's Christmas film, Give the Gift of Friendship below. The film stars Jane, who grew up in Newcastle. After retiring from her career in teaching, Jane cared for her husband John for more than a decade as he lived with dementia. After John sadly died, Jane, like so many others, had to learn how to live alone. Jane joined her local tea party group where she has made new friends and found a date to look forward to every month.