Radio and television presenter Gloria Hunniford is supporting a major care provider’s campaign to strengthen the connection between millennials and older people living in Britain.
The Words of Wisdom campaign, created by Methodist Homes (MHA), which operates retirement living, residential care and domiciliary care services across the country, aims to encourage younger people to post on social media the words of wisdom they have heard from older people.
The initiative has been launched as an antidote to Blue Monday, a name given to the third Monday of January, claimed to be the most depressing day of the year.
Supporting the campaign, Loose Women star Gloria Hunniford has called on younger generations to reach out and connect with older people.
“Even small acts like having a chat and a cuppa with a neighbour who is older, can have a huge impact on strengthening bonds. That’s why I’m supporting the Words of Wisdom campaign,” she said.
“It aims to bridge the gap between young people and older generations and inspire greater communication. Only then can younger generations receive the nuggets of wisdom from older generations that will help them live fulfilling lives. I applaud MHA for running this campaign and giving a voice to older people, particularly in care settings who so often are not heard.”
MHA has also challenged recent reports of growing divisions between older and younger generations, revealing that older people are a “trusted source” of wisdom for millennials.
A survey conducted by the provider found that almost half (48%) of 22 to 35 year-olds spend time with someone aged 65 and over who they are not related to – like a neighbour or friend – every week.
Of the respondents who know someone aged 65+ or have a living grandparent, almost two thirds (64%) turn to them for advice, with one in 10 (12%) doing so on a regular basis.
And it seems there’s the appetite for more contact, with 70% agreeing they would like to spend even more time with people aged 65 and over.
MHA chief executive Sam Monaghan said: “It is widely accepted that we have an epidemic of loneliness in the UK today, not just among older people, but younger people too, so it’s heartening to know just how much millennials value the company and experience of older people.
“The public hear so little from most older people in our society, particularly those in care settings. As a charity, we provide community support services that help address the loneliness some older people face. But tackling isolation is something we must do together, which is why we’re encouraging younger generations to have more conversations with the older people in their lives or to look for new opportunities to connect.
“We are investing in working with the next generation through our work with youth groups and schools as well as providing employment and volunteering opportunities to further strengthen intergenerational bonds.
“Befriending initiatives like our own community volunteering, is a meaningful way to make a difference in someone’s life. And it’s not just older generations that benefit from this contact. The younger people who work and volunteer at our care homes, retirement living and Live at Home schemes in communities say they get just as much from it.”