National Make a Friend Day: Encouraging friendships to combat loneliness

Loneliness, unfortunately, is a very real issue across the nation. More than a million older people have reported that often, a whole month passes before they have the chance to interact with someone, according to the NHS. 

At Foxholes, loneliness isn’t something that we want our residents to ever experience. So, it felt only right to encourage friendships and get involved with National Make a Friend Day.

Group of elderly friends eating food and drinking wine together.

National Make a Friend Day

On 11th February 2020, it was National Make a Friend Day. It encourages people from different backgrounds to form new friendships and avoid loneliness. In essence, it’s designed to stop people feeling lonely and sharpen social skills – and, in our case, encourage intergenerational friendships. At Foxholes care home, we all wanted to do something to celebrate.

Friendships are an invaluable, essential part of life. It’s something we like to encourage across the whole estate at Foxholes, and it sits strongly within our values.

Pen pals: making intergenerational friendships

Hitchin Girls’ School, in Hertfordshire, kindly agreed to join forces with us to highlight the importance of friendships. As part of their ‘pen pal’ project, the secondary and sixth-form students had been writing letters to our residents. And one of the school girls kindly delivered them to us. 

It was wonderful to see such an array of letters at our home. And as part of our contribution to National Make a Friend Day, our residents will be writing letters back to the students. This will continue seasonally, throughout the year. 

In environments such as schools and care homes, friendships are, most often, made between people in the same age bracket. So, we’ve been really excited to take the opportunity to offer our residents the chance to make friends with younger people; people with different perspectives and views on life. And we hope that the wisdom and life experience that lives within our residents can have a positive impact on the children, too.

Bryan, one of our residents here at Foxholes, has spoken to us about how excited he’s been to get involved: “I can’t wait to reply to my first letter from the school, it’s a great idea and a way for people from two very different walks of life to connect, share and enjoy each other’s stories. Everyone’s friendly at Foxholes!”

Elderly man writing a letter.

Avoiding loneliness

Feeling lonely is nothing less than a common issue, suffered particularly by the elder generations. When experienced over time, though, it can take its toll on our physical and mental health and wellbeing. This can lead to a weakened immune system and feelings of anxiety and/or depression.

That’s why we take friendships so seriously here at Foxholes. And our social, collaborative spaces mean that opportunities for interaction are ever present, and making friends with like minded people has never been easier.

We also love welcoming our pets into the home, which live with us on-site. They’re also a great way to prevent feelings of loneliness, whilst encouraging mindful living. To find out more about our care, please click here.