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Article
Publication date: 16 September 2011

Joe Mulvihill

The purpose of this paper is to raise awareness of the many benefits associated with older people accessing befriending services and to increase the quantity that are set…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to raise awareness of the many benefits associated with older people accessing befriending services and to increase the quantity that are set up and commissioned.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper contains a literature review: it looks into the results of two pilot projects and also features some case studies of befriending projects supporting older people.

Findings

Befriending services can be used to support older people: as a personalised form of care for those who may be isolated or lonely; to prevent the onset of dementia; to lead more active lives; and to increase the quality of their lives. Befrienders can help to spot illnesses which can prevent costly health conditions before they progress and help to reduce the burden on the National Health Service (NHS).

Research limitations/implications

The positive research results from two pilot projects are featured in the paper, which both highlight that befriending services should be available for all older people throughout the country, if they so choose.

Practical implications

The research outcomes are positive and back up the argument for the introduction of more befriending services to be available to all older people, particularly those with personal budgets. Befriending services can also lead to cost saving benefits for the NHS through the early intervention and prevention of complicated health issues and through reducing dependency on its resources too.

Social implications

Befriending services help to improve quality of life and should be more widely available to older people to access its personalised form of support and so should feature in public policy.

Originality/value

This paper highlights the role of befriending to those unsure of its meaning or role. This paper is of value to older people; local and central government; commissioners of health care; and people looking to improve the quality of life for older people.

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Article
Publication date: 10 March 2011

Joe Mulvihill

This paper argues the case for more mentoring and befriending projects to be set up to support older people with various levels of needs. From reducing social isolation to…

Abstract

This paper argues the case for more mentoring and befriending projects to be set up to support older people with various levels of needs. From reducing social isolation to helping with form filling, the benefits of mentoring and befriending are numerous. An introduction to mentoring and befriending is given, along with some case study examples of projects in action. A look at some of the ways befriending can be used to support older people from a new report by the Mentoring and Befriending Foundation is followed by a look at some recent research, concluding with some implications for practice.

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Article
Publication date: 12 June 2017

Jo Moriarty and Jill Manthorpe

There is increasing interest in befriending services that aim to combat loneliness among older people. The purpose of this paper is to use the Equality Act 2010 as a…

Abstract

Purpose

There is increasing interest in befriending services that aim to combat loneliness among older people. The purpose of this paper is to use the Equality Act 2010 as a framework for considering why older people might need these services and why some groups are over and under represented among service users.

Design/methodology/approach

Databases, websites and other resources were searched systematically for material on befriending. The final review consisted of 80 items, ranging from research articles, reports, and toolkits.

Findings

Individual face to face befriending has been the mainstay of the type of befriending support for older people. The increasing diversity of the older population and reductions in funding has led to adaptations of this model for different groups living in different circumstances.

Research limitations/implications

The resources and time available to conduct the review were limited. It is possible that some relevant material was not identified.

Practical implications

Practitioners working with older people need to know about befriending schemes available in their area and consider the reasons why some groups of older people might be reluctant to use them or require specialist schemes.

Originality/value

Existing research on befriending rarely reports the demographic characteristics of those using the service in detail or considers why some groups of older people might have greater needs for befriending services or be reluctant to use them. The Equality Act 2010 provides a structured framework for considering diversity in access to, and use of, services.

Details

Working with Older People, vol. 21 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1366-3666

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 2 December 2009

Kathleen Gillett and Melanie Dixon

Befriending is an ‘everyday solution’ (Raynes et al, 2005) based on a tried and tested recipe; take one person who would like some company, add a second person who likes…

Abstract

Befriending is an ‘everyday solution’ (Raynes et al, 2005) based on a tried and tested recipe; take one person who would like some company, add a second person who likes being with other people and has spare time and mix together. The result is something both people can enjoy and benefit from. Here, Kathleen Gillett and Melanie Dixon explain how a new initiative called ‘VitalLinks’ is supporting and promoting befriending for older people and consider how befriending enhances well‐being.

Details

Working with Older People, vol. 13 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1366-3666

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Article
Publication date: 1 June 2007

Georgina Charlesworth, Xanthippe Tzimoula, Paul Higgs and Fiona Poland

Social networks are seen to influence the use of health and social care services. In a secondary analysis of data from a longitudinal study of befriending of carers of…

Abstract

Social networks are seen to influence the use of health and social care services. In a secondary analysis of data from a longitudinal study of befriending of carers of people with dementia, we studied the relationship between network type and support from family/ friends, voluntary sector befriending and residential/nursing care. Using Wenger's typology of social networks, findings suggest that the pattern of support use varies by differences in the structure of networks. It is recommended that questions on social networks should be widely incorporated into carers' assessments to help identify need for social support interventions and to enable the sensitive selection of appropriate types of carer support to be provided.

Details

Quality in Ageing and Older Adults, vol. 8 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1471-7794

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 30 August 2010

Pat Fitzsimons

In this article the Chief Executive of the UK's only teleconferencing charity, Community Network, examines the problem of loneliness and social isolation that growing…

Abstract

In this article the Chief Executive of the UK's only teleconferencing charity, Community Network, examines the problem of loneliness and social isolation that growing numbers of older people are now experiencing, and how telephone support and befriending groups can help to alleviate these feelings. As well as highlighting the scale and causes of the problem, the article takes a look at different types of telephone befriending groups and why the telephone is currently a far better solution for delivering this type of support than web‐based alternatives. The article also explains how telephone befriending groups work; how much they cost; evaluating the success of the groups; and, most importantly, what the groups can achieve.

Details

Working with Older People, vol. 14 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1366-3666

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 31 December 1998

Jo Dean and Robina Goodlad

BEFRIENDING IS A VALUED form of support for people in receipt of community care services, and offers something which is qualitatively different from the support which paid…

Abstract

BEFRIENDING IS A VALUED form of support for people in receipt of community care services, and offers something which is qualitatively different from the support which paid staff can give. This paper, based on recent research, explores the perspectives of users and reports on some of the problems facing befriending organisations.

Details

Housing, Care and Support, vol. 1 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1460-8790

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Article
Publication date: 14 March 2017

Chris McGoldrick, Giles Andrew Barrett and Ian Cook

The purpose of this paper is to share the findings of a research evaluation into a Befriending and Re-ablement Service (BARS) which offers a host of positive outcomes such…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to share the findings of a research evaluation into a Befriending and Re-ablement Service (BARS) which offers a host of positive outcomes such as reduced loneliness and keeping as well as possible for a growing segment of the world’s population. The recent increase in longevity is one of humanity’s great success stories. But ageing comes at a price, and decision takers worry about the stresses and strains of an ageing society.

Design/methodology/approach

Following a literature review, this paper presents the findings of an evaluation of an alternative innovative form of support for older people, namely BARS, that has been developed on Merseyside. Semi- and unstructured interviews were carried out with stakeholders including service users and carers. A cost-benefit analysis is also reported. Finally the theoretical and policy implications of this research are explored.

Findings

Befriending and re-ablement officers is both a socially and economically cost effective means of enhancing independent living among older people, reducing loneliness and isolation that can contribute to ill health. The research shows that funding for the BARS scheme should be sustained and expanded, despite or because of the current era of cutbacks in UK and international service provision.

Originality/value

The paper highlights the value, role and importance of both befriending and re-ablement in a time of acute public and voluntary sector funding pressures. The paper is of value to a range of stakeholder groups such as older people, local and central governments and health care commissioners.

Details

International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, vol. 37 no. 1/2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-333X

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Article
Publication date: 17 November 2011

Sue Holttum

This Research Watch seeks to summarise two recent research papers. The first examines the case for understanding hearing voices as part of normal experience, while the…

Abstract

Purpose

This Research Watch seeks to summarise two recent research papers. The first examines the case for understanding hearing voices as part of normal experience, while the second looks at befriending schemes.

Design/methodology/approach

A search was carried out for research papers with a mental health and social inclusion focus published within the previous 12 months.

Findings

Studies spanning more than 100 years suggest that hearing voices is more common than usually thought. There is a case for viewing this experience more positively than at present. Interviews involving eight people with mental health conditions and their befrienders suggested that demonstrating empathy and being non‐judgmental helped people with mental health conditions to talk things through with both parties learning from one another. Going out together helped befriendees gain greater confidence to participate in further activities and feel less isolated.

Originality/value

This paper summarises research relating to mental health and social inclusion that has emerged within the previous 12 months.

Details

Mental Health and Social Inclusion, vol. 15 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2042-8308

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 1 February 1992

Di Stubbs

No one is immune from contemplating suicide, and the pressures ofmodern living may bring people to breaking point unless help is soughtor offered. The Samaritans offer …

Abstract

No one is immune from contemplating suicide, and the pressures of modern living may bring people to breaking point unless help is sought or offered. The Samaritans offer “befriending”, and volunteers are trained and experienced to answer calls from those who feel that life has become too much to bear. In the workplace, colleagues and personnel services should be more aware of individuals who are in need of help – especially Samaritan services – and should readily advise people to talk to their nearest branch volunteers.

Details

Employee Councelling Today, vol. 4 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0955-8217

Keywords

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