This morning I was filing a news clipping about Esther Rantzen’s ‘Silver Line’, a call centre for older people who want someone to talk to. In the first six months over 100,000 over 65s called just to be able to chat with someone. The reasons many older folk are living such solitary lives are quite complex, and it would be unrealistic to suggest that there is a simple solution. But then I was reminded of something that has proved to be a really simple solution; a place where people are being brought together quite naturally. I was filing a news piece about Pilgrim Gardens, our new retirement housing in Leicester.

Sitting on the patio.  Courtesy Tim Crocker photography.
Sitting on the patio. Courtesy Tim Crocker photography.

The news story was about how Pilgrim Gardens had won three national awards, and we were asked if the government Housing & Communities Agency (HCA) could make a site visit, with 20 attendees, as a learning exercise for their Vulnerable and Older Persons Housing Agenda (VOPAG). But the real prize for us was seeing how well Pilgrim Gardens is working for people who are living there.

Quite simply, it eliminates loneliness. If you haven’t seen it already, do watch the video at  vimeo.com/100737356

Louise Morse

Louise Morse MA (CBT) is media and external relations manager for the Pilgrims’ Friend Society. She is a writer and speaker, and author of books on issues of old age, including dementia, published by Lion Monarch and SPCK. She is a cognitive behavioural therapist, and her Masters’ dissertation examined the effects of caring for a loved one with dementia on close relatives.

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