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Senior Living n Nothing beats face-to-face contact


Research suggests that social mobility and technology are making us mentally the poorer and more socially isolated…


A text or an email to a distant family member may show you care, but face-to-face interaction – especially for the elderly – has no substitute. Latest findings reveal one in 10 of us feels lonely often and


48% of us think we are getting lonelier in general. Just under five years ago, Kent County Council recognised this worrying trend and funded two befriending services in east and west Kent. Their success was evident but with budget cuts, and a failed application for Lottery money, only that in West Kent survived. Now funded by Age Concern Maidstone, the free service has helped 237 to live with loneliness by offering them a friend, with a similar scheme run in Tonbridge, thanks to volunteers and Wendy Pfeiffer, who founded and runs the befriending service in West Kent. She says: “You don’t have to live alone to feel isolated and lonely. Loneliness is non-discriminatory to age, gender or wealth and is a bigger problem than simply an emotional experience.” In Maidstone, the project assists 96 people over 50 and has


116 volunteers, aged 20 to 80, who call on them at home each week for an hour or to take them out. Wendy said: “Our members describe these visits as a breath


of fresh air to their lives and our volunteers say it is one of the most rewarding things to do.”


One woman whose mum is housebound added: “In spite of


her condition, mum maintains an interest in all that is going on, and Roz is able to bring with her a bit of the outside world. I’m sure mum enjoys a break from nattering with me and, for me, it is wonderful to know that she will have company most Sunday afternoons, thereby giving me a break.” For more information about the Befriending Service or


becoming a volunteer call 01622 753618. Source: Age UK Maidstone


Our services Contact us today


7 Mill Street Maidstone ME15 6XW


01622 753618


info@ageukmaidstone.org.uk Charity number: 1062723


Bathing Befriending Cogs clubs Computer classes Day care Exercise and socialise Foot care Gardening Independent living service Free information and advice Property maintenance Dementia day care Travel vouchers Trusted traders Wheelchair hire


Mid Kent Living 37


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