Befrienders Highland - #BefriendingIs a lovely, supportive friendship

Mon 31 Oct 2022

During #BefriendingWeek, let's hear what #BefriendingIs from Befrienders Highland:


Carer Case Study Sept 2022

Jim was referred to our service in 2019 by a dementia link worker.  He was the main carer for his wife who lived with dementia.  His wife went to daycare 2 mornings a week and that was the only respite Jim got.  When I first met Jim, he was like a broken man, very anxious and low in mood and sat, shoulders slumped on the couch.  He said he felt overwhelmed by his caring role and worried that he wasn’t coping. He felt very guilty as he has worked in nursing all his adult life, and felt he was letting his wife down as he wasn’t coping. I listened as Jim felt having someone to talk to would help. 

Jim was quickly matched  with a volunteer  Kenny, they shared a love of nature and music and both have worked with young people.  They very quickly built up a lovely, supportive friendship.  Jim said he “didn’t know where he would be” without Kenny".  Jim’s wife sadly passed away in 2021 and Kenny called more often initially to help support Jim through his grief. 

The friendship continued to flourish and they both decided to move over to an ‘unsupported’ friendship in 2022.  That is where they both are friends on their own without any input from BHL.  When I asked Kenny the best thing about their friendship he said:  “I’ve been there and witnessed that journey. The change has been rewarding, to be part of his journey.  Been a privilege.  I’ve enjoyed our friendship, learned a lot from him. It evolved from one sided conversation to very much a 50/50 shared relationship, we just chat. The evolution has been incredible. We are both looking forward just to be regular mates!” 

I also asked Kenny what changes he noticed in Jim in the last 6 months of their friendship, he said “He is doing really well, it’s lovely to see, he has just blossomed. He really is a lovely, caring, gentle man and I am proud to call him my friend”.

Another positive from this story is the fact that Jim has now gone onto complete the Befrienders Highland volunteer training and is himself matched with a gentleman who lives with memory loss.  The friendship is fairly new, but things are going well and Jim says he feels he is “giving something back”.  Considering the broken man I met in 2019, Jim has made a remarkable recovery and we are delighted that he is still part of the BHL Team.


By: Befrienders Highland

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