When you get older, you may find that your friends and family become fewer or that you see them more infrequently. This can be for many reasons, such as bereavement, ill health, disability or simply due to people moving away from the area that you live in. It may be that you are living alone for the first time in many years if your partner has passed away, or your relationship has ended for other reasons, such as divorce.
Loneliness and isolation can be a huge problem for older people and it can have a detrimental effect on your wellbeing and health. In this section we have provided information about some ways in which you can meet new people and make friends.
There are many ways in which you can make new friends; the most obvious being to join a group of like-minded people. You can do this by thinking about the things that you enjoy doing and finding a group that you can join. If you don’t have a hobby, try reading the following sections of our website for some ideas:
Travelling alone may seem daunting at first, but there are many travel companies that specialise in organising holidays for older or single people. Visit our section on Taking a holiday for more detailed information about how to arrange a trip or find a holiday that suits your needs.
Local clubs and community centres
If you don’t want to travel too far, there should be plenty of opportunities in your local area to meet new people and spend time in other people’s company. Have a look at our Directory of Organisations for details of groups in the area you live in. You can now search by postcode and area to see organisations that operate in your area. You may also like to see our information on Day centres and lunch groups.
Meetup is an online network of local groups. You can organise a local group or find one of the thousands already meeting up face-to-face. More than 9,000 groups get together in local communities each day, each one with the goal of improving themselves or their communities.
Chain Reaction run a Sunday social club at the Laing Art Gallery every Sunday at 2.30pm. The group is free and open to anyone who would like to pop along for some company and a cup of tea.
Hand in Hand run lunch and reminiscence clubs for men and women over 65 in Wallsend and Heaton. Clubs meet at Trinity Wallsend Methodist Church Hall on Tuesdays from 11am – 2.30pm, and at Heaton Methodist Church on Tuesdays from 1.30pm – 3.30pm.
Contact the Elderly offer monthly afternoon tea parties for people over 75 who live alone. The tea parties take place on Sundays and involve small groups of people. The parties provide an opportunity to meet new people, both volunteers and other guests to make lasting friendships. You can join a Contact the Elderly group as a guest or a volunteer.
This is great way to meet new people and also to give something back to your community at the same time. Our section on Volunteering will give you some ideas about ways in which you can give your time. Volunteering is also an excellent way of learning new skills and building up your confidence.
If you are isolated and are unable to get out and about, you may benefit from a befriending service. This means that a volunteer will visit you, usually in your own home, to provide you with some company. Some services offer telephone befriending, which involves a volunteer contacting you for a chat over the telephone on a regular basis. We have listed here some organisations that may be able to provide you with a befriender:
Chain Reaction is a service commissioned by Newcastle City Council that supports older people (55+) to live independently in the community.
By promoting the use of community-based resources and facilities, Chain Reaction helps people to lead happier, healthier lives. It supports and sustains friendships in order to combat social isolation and to increase a sense of good emotional health and wellbeing
Chain Reaction is provided by three partner organisations:
Together they have knowledge and experience of working with older people, those who have a learning disability, and people with poor mental health.
Ways to Wellness service helps people in the West of Newcastle to manage their long-term conditions, which may include activities such as:
- Getting involved in local groups and activities
- Accessing specialist services and support
- Healthy eating and getting more active
- Getting support around benefits and welfare rights
Caring Hands is a charity whose mission is to sustain the independence and quality of life of older and disabled people living in the East End of Newcastle. They provide a wide range of services designed to help older and disabled people to live independently and to improve their quality of life.
Independent Age provide Friendship Services for older people through phone calls, visits, telephone discussion groups and more.
Royal Voluntary Service offers a Befriending service where older people can be matched with a volunteer who can offer visits and time for a chat.
The Silver Line is the confidential, free helpline for older people across the UK open every day and night of the year. Specially trained helpline staff offer
- information, friendship and advice
- signposting to local groups and services
- regular befriending calls
- protection and support to those who are suffering abuse and neglect
There are a number of ways of finding new friends, or a partner online. Many of these services are free of charge, but some online dating sites charge a monthly fee.
Mature Times offers a service called Mature Connections for finding friends or relationships. It’s a confidential service that puts you in touch with people who share your outlook, passions, tastes, hobbies and interests.
Social Networking section on Information Now
Other useful information
- Finding a partner page on Information NOW
- Food and Friends article on Information NOW
- Outsiders is an organisation that offers social opportunities and a sex and disability helpline to people with physical, learning and social disabilities.
Last updated: December 5, 2018