Achieving aims with Third Age Befriending

This is the story of F., referred to the TAB project as she was anxious, shy and would not leave the house unless accompanied by her husband. F. and her husband have a close relationship, but both were aware that they needed to work towards her becoming more independent.

F. was matched with a befriender and they practised using the buses into Falkirk to meet for coffee. They had also looked at knitting classes within F.’s area that she could attend in the future, once her confidence was built up.

The befriender had to withdraw from volunteering due to changes in work and for a short time, until another befriender was identified, F. joined our monthly lunch group. She functioned within the group very well, which was a joy to see, as she had previously had been very nervous of being a group settings, however small. The group were extremely supportive of F. and she began to relax and look forward to the outings.

We were able to match F. again fairly quickly and she has gelled with her befriender very quickly. F. had expressed a desire to learn to use the buses from Falkirk to Stirling, so that she was not limited to Falkirk and she could work towards visiting a housebound friend in Stirling, who she had not been able to see for some time.

On their 3rd meeting, the befriender organised with F. where she would get on the bus to Stirling and accompanied her to Stirling to show her where she would get off the bus. The following week, F. travelled independently to Stirling (having practised again, the weekend before with her husband) and met with her befriender.

F. was extremely pleased with this development and was very excited about the possibility of meeting her friend in the near future. Both F. and her befriender intend to meet outwith Falkirk more regularly and they are talking about trying out the buses to Edinburgh and further afield.

This is such an achievement in a very short time and indicates the value of setting clear aims and goals to work towards. It allows an opportunity to plan and have a feeling of control and independence and, when the goals are achieved, it allows a chance for the person to feel pride and value herself.

F.’s husband is delighted and amazed at F.’s progress and says that he feels more secure and much less anxious about about their future. F. has also started to attend the small local knitting group independently and says this is due to her feeling secure and able to cope with small groups after regularly attending the Stepping on monthly lunches and thereby feeling more confident about trying other group activities.

Provided June 2014

Tags: Anxiety, Third Age Befriending