Age Connects provides a range of services to people in Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan. In particular, their be-friending service provides peer support for older people who are a risk of social isolation.
Gladys lives in South East Cardiff. Her husband recently passed away and she only has one daughter who moved to New Zealand a number of years ago. Gladys had become increasingly isolated due to her decreasing mobility and ill health; she was diagnosed with bowel cancer two years ago and has had several operations. This greatly affected her confidence and she felt that she had lost her independence.
Gladys was receiving information and support with paperwork from the Age Connects Advocacy Service, when she disclosed that she was feeling isolated and lonely. The Advocate assisting Gladys felt she may benefit from meeting other people her own age and spoke to her about a referral to the Community Support Service, to which Gladys consented.
A home visit was arranged by the Volunteer Development Officer, who met with Gladys to find out about her hobbies and interests. It was agreed that short outings to cafes, coffee shops and local parks for a couple of hours of socialising during the nice weather would be hugely beneficial. Through the assistance of the Community Support Project, Gladys was introduced to other clients who were feeling isolated and wished to meet people of the same age, in a similar situation.
With the help of transport volunteers, Gladys now attends a monthly Cinema Club with a friend she has made through Age Connects and also meets up with another friend in a café or coffee shop so that she can have a chat and ‘put the world to rights’. Gladys said, ‘It’s so lovely having someone my own age to talk to – we grew up around the same time, so have lots in common! It’s just lovely as the conversation flows so easily.”
Both Gladys and her friend feel less alone and now have someone to call when they have concerns or just want to have a natter and some social contact.
With thanks to Gladys for sharing her story. Name has been changed. December 2018