Contact the Elderly is a charity whose aim is to alleviate loneliness in older people through free monthly tea parties. It has been in existence for over 50 years, 47 in Scotland.
Our guests are usually over 75 years old, live alone with little social contact. They have to be able to get in and out of a car and manage a few steps with just a steadying arm, as we do not undertake any caring duties. They have great backstories, and we are always amazed at what we discover. They look forward to the outings enormously as many of them have no family, or family lives far away. As they get older, they outlive their friends and it is very difficult for us to understand how awful it must be to sit alone and stare at the walls.
We have volunteer drivers who collect a couple of guests, accompany them to the tea party, and take them home again. Drivers can drive each month or occasionally, and the teas are from 2.00-4.00p.m. on one Sunday a month.
Our hosts provide a simple afternoon tea for a group of guests, usually 6-8 plus drivers, and we try to adjust numbers to suit the host. Hosts usually host once a year, although some people like to host twice.
As you can see, the whole concept is very simple and not at all arduous. The guests make new friends as do our volunteers and what better way of doing good can there be than chatting and eating cake.
For volunteers, eating cake is an important prerequisite and our guests are no slouches in the cake eating stakes either.