Lifeline Guild Care services help older people make friends and socialise, combatting loneliness
Worthing-based charity Guild Care has been running day services for older people for more than 70 years, helping to combat loneliness.
Claire Howell, director of community services, said: “We know that as people grow older, they can often feel lonely and become isolated, especially after a bereavement.
“The Guild Care Centre is open Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday, and some weekends, where people over 65 can meet friends and socialise.
“People can chat over a cup of coffee and lunch, enjoy some entertainment, take part in group activities such as seated exercise, tai chi or art and craft, and have a sing-along with people of a similar age. It really is very important that a community like Worthing with a higher than average population of older people continues to provide services like this to help reduce loneliness.”
When Jean lost her 57-year-old son Ian, she went to see her GP, who prescribed her anti-depressants. However, these did not agree with her and she became very unwell.
She was referred to a counsellor, who gave her information about Guild Care’s free day centre services. The day centre was within walking distance of her home, so she went along one day and has not looked back since.
Jean said: “It has now become part of my life. I come every Tuesday, sometimes a Monday and a Friday, and perhaps at a weekend for a Sunday lunch. We have a lot of fun with gentle exercise, singing, entertainment and subsidised meals. I often have dinner here a couple of times a week and they happily cater for my dietary needs.
“I’ve made friends, too, and just feel so much better. Although I think of Ian every day, I’m now able to cope mentally with my loss. Without this centre, I am not sure I would still be here, as I was so depressed. Coming to the Guild Care Centre means I have reason to get up and get dressed. I’ll even have my nails done at the salon sometimes.
“This service truly has been a lifeline for me and I’m so grateful that this charity can offer something so valuable to me and other local people.”
Christine has been going to the Guild Care Centre for the past seven years, since losing her husband.
She now attends on a regular basis every Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday. She gets involved with all the activities, from arts and crafts sessions to using the computers, and loves a dance and a sing-along, especially when the Elvis impersonator is in the house.
Christine said: “I’ve met lots of people here and made good friends. It makes me feel good inside. Coming here keeps me busy. It gives me something to do and is much better than sitting at home alone.”
John from Worthing has been going to the Guild Care Centre for more than ten years.
John said: “When I retired, I felt quite bored, so I started coming to the centre, which really helped to give me a sense of purpose. It means a lot to me to belong to this community.
“I have made lots of friends and we really enjoy chatting, exchanging stories and having a laugh. It also feels good to have the support of people who are in the same boat as me.
“I use the Guild Care minibus. I wouldn’t be able to get here without it as I’m in a wheelchair, so can’t use public transport. Guild Care is a really important part of my life, and I would feel lost without it.”