#BefriendingIs Brightening up your day - Joy and Diane from Carers Leeds share their experience of befriending

Tue 3 Nov 2020

Aidan Finney, Befriending Coordinator with Carers Leeds shares how Dianne and Joy have found a friend during a time when many have experienced an extended period of isolation and loneliness.

Joy cares for her husband who has a dementia diagnosis. She balances her time between working in a school and caring for her husbands needs.

Before the lockdown, Joy and her befriender Dianne used to meet fortnightly at a coffee shop. They also had the opportunity to go out to a theatre trip together. Dianne recalled this as a lovely memory.

Unfortunately, due to the COVID-19 restrictions, Dianne and Joy’s face to face befriending had to be ended. They agreed to continue their befriending relationship over the telephone, on a fortnightly basis throughout the lock-down. This has continued for an extended period over the last 7 months.

Dianne and Joy have found a friend during a time when many have experienced an extended period of isolation and loneliness. Joy would recommend befriending; it has been a gentle, gradual process of improving her confidence and she feels she is almost a different person than when she first started receiving support from Carers Leeds.

Joy explained that befriending for her was something that didn’t get results straight away but that, over time, it has made an impact on her well-being. She feels that Dianne has brought her out of her shell and caused her to be more outgoing. She now wants to get out to do more and has increased confidence to do so. She has always looked forward to her fortnightly calls and this helped her through the ups and downs of lock-down restrictions, knowing that she would get that time to talk. The calls would sometimes land on a good day and other times on a down day. Joy explained that it was OK to talk on a down day, as by the end of the call with Dianne, she would be in a much more positive state of mind.

Dianne has enjoyed her befriending with Joy, it has really helped her over the last 7 months. She has enjoyed Joy’s company during a time when she had significantly less contact with people (as we all have during the lock-down). She had the opportunity to talk about anything with Joy, that has helped them both take their mind off their situations.

Throughout the lock-down Carers Leeds have found that, for carers, knowing that they have a phone call to look forward to has kept them going. They know that it won’t be long before they have a chance to have someone ask them how they are doing and brighten up their day.

By: Aidan Finney, Befriending Coordinator, Carers Leeds