Contact the Elderly, a UK charity dedicated to tackling loneliness and isolation among older people, is encouraging everyone to spark up a conversation with their older neighbours.
“Conversations can change lives,” said Meryl Davies, Chief Executive of Contact the Elderly. “People at all stages of life are vulnerable to feeling isolated and lonely and we would encourage anyone to take some time to talk to their older neighbours.”
It’s not always easy to start conversations with neighbours, so Contact the Elderly have put together these top tips on how to start chatting with older neighbours:
1. Start slow – it can be intimidating to start speaking to strangers or unfamiliar people and that’s understandable but just saying hello when you are passing a neighbour really can make their day.
2. Ask questions – older people usually have a lot of interesting stories and anecdotes to share so don’t be afraid to ask them questions.
3. Treat them how you’d like to be treated – older people were once your age and experienced the same feelings and many of the same life events. Look for common ground.
4. Be open – being open and honest with others can help to build trust but don’t feel pressure to share anything you’re not comfortable with.
5. Offer a helping hand – older people may have trouble getting out and about, you can always offer to pick up a pint of milk for them.