The United Nations’ International Day of Friendship on 30th July is intended to promote friendship and peace across cultures. Friendship is vital for people of all ages, but is particularly valuable in later life for reducing the risk of isolation and depression. At Care UK we love supporting residents to continue relationships with family and friends in the local community, and it’s delightful to see new friendships develop as a person settles into a home.
Uniting through writing
Many of our homes run pen pal schemes with other local Care UK homes, or with schools. Residents of Priors House in Leamington Spa, and Perry Manor in Worcester, have been writing to each other for a few months. To mark International Day of Friendship, they decided to meet up for the first time.
The pen pals got together at Perry Manor for afternoon tea and then created an artwork to commemorate their visit. The piece they created symbolises friendship and around the outside are words that residents suggested to represent this idea, such as ‘loyalty’, and ‘long-lasting’.
Residents of Elizabeth Lodge in Enfield, North London swap regular letters with pupils at Highlands School, Grange Park. On National Pen Pal Day, in early June, residents and students got together for the afternoon to say hello, get to know each other better and finally put a face (and a smile) to a name.
Finding a friend
Our teams support residents to connect through activities. At Mercia Grange in Sutton Coldfield, two ladies have bonded over their shared love of golf. Spotting the connection, lifestyle coordinator, Belinda, bought them a mini golf putting green, which has been an instant hit.
Friendships naturally form from shared experiences. When Gill first moved to Winchcombe Place in Newbury she was a little unsure of her new surroundings.
Remembering what it was like to be new to the home, resident Jean started chatting to her, and suggested they go along together to some of the activities. Having a friend quickly helped Gill to settle in, and the two ladies are now inseparable. Whether it’s knitting sessions, bird watching or a cheese and wine evening – they’re there chatting and laughing.
Margaret, a resident at Murrayside, was also quick to help Ann, when she was considering moving to the Edinburgh home. Ann wasn’t sure about the move, but Margaret showed her around her room and the two chatted over a coffee. Ann subsequently decided she would definitely enjoy living at Murrayside and has now moved in. She and Margaret have become good friends.