Befriender helped Jean “keep going” during pandemic

  • Date: 11/05/2021

78-year-old Jean lives on her own with her cat, Jasper.

A few years ago, she was referred to us her health meant she now couldn't get out and about as much as she used to. She’d also recently broken her back so needed some extra support. That’s when she was introduced to befriending volunteer Hannah, who’d visit her at home regularly.

The two would meet up and have a chat about anything and everything . Jean told us: “Hannah is the nicest person and very thoughtful. All the time I’ve known her, nearly 3 years, we’ve got on very well.”

When the pandemic hit, face-to-face meetings could no longer take place. For many older people, they were left feeling more isolated than ever with low moods, anxiety and loosing their confidence. According to Age UK, 1 in 3 older people said their anxiety is now worse or much worse than before the start of the pandemic.

At Revival, we knew that keeping those connections going between befriending volunteers and their customers could really help their mental health during this difficult time. We encouraged our volunteers to find other ways to keep in touch to help empty houses feel more like home.

For Jean and Hannah, they arranged to call each other once a week, which helped Jean enormously during the lockdowns and restrictions, as Jean explains: “Keeping in touch over the phone every week has helped and kept me going.”

As well as phone calls, Hannah has also been able to support Jean in other ways too: “Occasionally when I was stuck for food she came and brought it to the door, so it’s been a big help. It was great to chat with her outside too when she was dropping off my shopping.

“She’s also been able to help with little things I haven’t been able to sort out myself, such as she has managed to call people for me or sort the little jobs when she could come and have a cup of tea outside.”

As restrictions lift further this summer, the pair are hoping to meet more often face-to-face again like old times.

Jean's befriending volunteer, Hannah.