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8 Things Every Person Should Know About Friendship, According to Elderly Care Home Residents

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Now more than ever, friendship must be treasured. To mark this year’s International Day of Friendship (30th July), care home residents across the country have been sharing their wisdom on the best parts of friendship in your younger years – and beyond. 

Friendships teach us a lot of things about ourselves, and they bring so much happiness into our lives. From forming new friendships and growing apart, friendships can change a lot in your twenties and thirties. 

Fortunately, 11 care home residents have shared their advice on what keeps a friendship going – alongside their stories of making new pals in their new homes. From gossiping with your friends about your partner to never telling their secrets, there’s something for everyone. 

With an average age of 83, Lottie’s care home residents share their advice for friendship in your twenties:

  • Do not talk about one another behind each other’s backs (Lucy Pope, 90)
  • Never tell secrets or pass on any gossip and keep friends who make you laugh (Joyce Trice, 91)
  • No matter how many friends you have, you always retain your own personality (Barbara Court, 87)
  • To be patient with one another (Jacqueline McDougall, 80)
  • Gossip about your partner! (Pauline Bird, 90)
  • Make sure you’re always loyal (Carol Hodgetts, 64)
  • Always support your friends through everything (Ann Barlow (65) and Valerie Evans, 85)
  • You need to trust and care for your friends – it doesn’t matter who they are or where they’re from (Olive (85) and Betty, 96)

Residents Barbara Court, Joyce Trice and Lucy Pope at Birkin Lodge Care Home in Tunbridge Wells have certainly formed a firm friendship over the years – they’re known as ‘the calendar girls’ in the home! Lucy and Joyce met first after Joyce came to the home for a short stay. 

When Joyce left, Lucy hoped every day that she would come back. She was overjoyed when she came to live at the home permanently – only a short while later. When Barbara joined the home she was introduced to Joyce by the staff team who thought they’d get on, the three have been inseparable ever since.

Commenting on their friendship they said: ‘No matter what your age you can meet friends later in life. We all like each other for who we are.’

Another trio – 64-year-old Carol Hodgetts, 65-year-old Ann Barlow and Valerie Evans (85) – at Bourn View Care Home in Birmingham all shared how important it is to look out for one another. After being diagnosed with dementia, Carol moved to the home, and she found two special friends in Ann and Valerie. 

They do everything together and look out for one another, as they describe helping each other if they need to brush their hair, have forgotten their glasses, or even have food around their mouth. 

Valerie is deaf, so they help her with day-to-day activities and make sure they go to lunch and supper together. She described how grateful she is to have her friends around her. When asked about the friendship advice they would give others, they all mentioned loyalty, stating how important it is to look out for and support your friends

In support of World Friendship Day, Maureen and Pauline have shared their friendship story after striking up a close bond at Wisbech’s Lyncroft Care Home. 

Maureen said: ‘I met Pauline at the lunch table, she wanted my cauliflower, and I didn’t want her to have it!’ 

Pauline went on to explain: ‘I moved into Lyncroft a few months after Maureen. She was very welcoming (besides the cauliflower incident)! I had a difficult time adjusting at the start as moving into a care home was a big change, but it was the right decision due to my decrease in mobility and I wanted to be with my husband, James. 

‘As you can imagine there was a lot of emotion when James passed away but having the support of Maureen has really helped me.’

From combating loneliness to boosting your happiness levels, there’s some surprising health benefits of friendship, according to Lottie’s co-founder and care expert Will Donnelly: ‘Over the last few years, our friendships have been more important than ever before. Having strong relationships with your friends can reduce any feelings of loneliness and anxiety, as well as keeping you motivated to achieve your goals.

There’s something so special about hearing about these new friendships in our care homes, alongside the valuable life lessons for the younger generations.

‘You’re never too old to form new friendships, and this is something that’s so apparent when you visit a care home. New friends can increase your sense of belonging, boost your happiness, and improve your self-confidence,’ shared Will Donnelly. 

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