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How we can make winters less lonely for older people

Meet David, who volunteers in Staffordshire, as he talks about why winter can be hard on older, isolated people.

“I started volunteering this year as I wanted to feel that I was contributing to helping someone in a lonely or difficult situation feel that they had a friend to talk to. Someone who finds them interesting and makes them feel better about themselves.

Winter can be a tough time for older people

“In winter, I think the limitations we feel are more seriously experienced by older people who are already in need of support. Making that extra effort in winter might just help someone to get a smile during the dark, cold weather.

“I’ve thoroughly enjoyed volunteering so far; the best thing is feeling that I’m making a real, positive difference to someone’s life. I think that helping people is a vastly underappreciated activity – by the giver.  It has certainly given me a better feeling about myself and been very enjoyable and satisfying.

“During conversations about travel, I asked the older person who I’m matched with about the favourite place he’d ever been. His answer of Crewe, due to his memories of train spotting during his childhood, said with no irony at all was priceless. It reminded me that his memory deficiency clearly causes him to focus on longer term aspects - and his happy childhood - rather than the here and now, which is nevertheless charming.”

Volunteering with Good Neighbours

David volunteers with Royal Voluntary Service’s Good Neighbours service which matches volunteers with older people to provide local companionship and long term friendships. It is a year round service but particularly important in winter, when many older people struggle and can become isolated.

About Royal Voluntary Service

Royal Voluntary Service is one of the largest volunteering charities in Britain powered by more than 35,000 volunteers who regularly provide practical help to over 100,000 older people in their homes, communities and in hospitals. Find out more about volunteering with Royal Voluntary Service in your area or get help for an older person who needs support. Read their tips for older people on staying well in winter.