Case Study: MHA

Sat 4 Nov 2023

MHA is an award-winning charity which works to eliminate isolation and loneliness among older people by connecting them to communities.

A member of Befriending Networks, MHA runs telephone, online and face-to-face befriending services, providing a vital link to the outside world.

A link to the outside world

In September 2021 MHA spoke to G, who was at risk of becoming increasingly isolated due to poor mobility. He had recognised some memory loss, and had recently given up driving. This made it more difficult for G to attend social activities, so he was very keen to chat with someone on a weekly basis through telephone befriending.

He was matched with P, who had chosen to volunteer to give something back to the community. She was keen to support and listen to an older person, and chat about their interests.

G and P enjoyed their weekly chats, with G saying 'P makes a lot of difference to me. P is perfect, thank you so much. I really enjoy speaking to her and we chat every week.'

Sadly, G was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, news that he understandably found upsetting. P supported G by chatting to him about activities he could do to keep his brain active. She noticed that he seemed to particularly enjoy chatting about her daughter’s forthcoming wedding, so used that as a distraction from everything else he had going on.

Staying in touch

When G was admitted to hospital, the MHA team kept in touch with his daughter to get updates. His health declined and when he was discharged, it was likely he would need to go into respite. With G’s daughter’s permission, MHA updated P on his situation and shared his mobile number, so she could call him in hospital.

After several weeks, P found her calls to G would usually go unanswered. She asked if she could write to G instead. MHA contacted G’s daughter, who said he rarely answers the phone to anyone now, and that she loved the idea of writing notes instead.

As G’s speech continued to deteriorate, the cards and notes that P was sending him became a real bright spot for him. The care home puts them up in his room, and G is always eager to show the family the latest card he has received from P, reading them over and over again.

Become a befriender

To find out more about the work of MHA, and to get in touch to find out how you could become a befriender like P, please visit the MHA profile on the Befriending Networks Directory.