Connection Matters

We all thrive on connection, it is what makes us human. The chat over the fence with a neighbour, a wave hello on the school run or a friendly exchange in the shops. These small everyday connections help us to feel happier and less lonely.

Loneliness is a feeling not dissimilar to hunger, when we feel hungry it’s our brain’s way of saying “find food” and when we feel lonely it means we need social connection.

Loneliness and wellbeing

Loneliness can affect our mental and even physical wellbeing. Rates of severe loneliness for older people in care homes are over 2x higher than for those living at home. A study of 128 care home managers showed 79% reported that lack of social contact caused a deterioration in health and wellbeing of residents with dementia. 

However, loneliness isn’t just for the old, people aged 16-24 are now the group most likely to say they feel lonely and women and ethnic minorities are the largest group affected by loneliness.

This week is Loneliness Awareness Week and what better way to celebrate that than to help yourself, or someone else feel less lonely by joining our intergenerational arts & crafts exchange crafting connections.

 Make friends and reduce loneliness

Sign your little one up to our monthly arts and craft exchange. You can make friends and reduce loneliness through a love of all things arty! 

Each month you and your crafting pen pal will receive an activity pack (with a different theme each month) and a questionnaire. You send your artwork back to us and we match you with an older person. Your new friend can enjoy receiving something from their special friend each month and the children get to know the older person and their likes and dislikes. 

Sometimes talking about ourselves and our lives to others can help us feel less lonely.


How can you connect?

8 top tips for intergenerational conversational starters

So how can we open up and start a conversation and make someone feel connected? If you’re writing to your crafting friend or just chatting to an older person, here are some good conversation starters for children and adults…

1. Talk about your family and ask them about their family. Do they have children? Do they have siblings? Ask about their wife or husband, were they married?

2. Ask about where they grew up. What was their childhood home like?

3. Did you go to school? Did you enjoy school? 

4. Did you have many close friends? Who were they? What games did you play?

5. Talk about holidays and family traditions.

6. Ask them about their working life and hobbies. Children can talk about what they enjoy doing.

7. Ask them about their favourite music or art or food. Everyone loves talking about their favourite meals or the films they love.

8. Talk about what you’ve been up to, older people like to hear about all the exciting places you’ve been, they may tell you about places they’ve been to.

So go take action against loneliness this week; join crafting connections, wave to a neighbour, chat to an old friend or smile at a stranger. Little and often, these small connections make a huge difference.

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