Duo launch business to combat loneliness for the elderly
TWO friends have launched a business in a bid to combat the loneliness and isolation often experienced by elderly people.
Fran Frankland and Vivienne Pike, of Kirkby Lonsdale, started Just Company following personal experiences with elderly family members.
Fran said: “Loneliness and isolation is a huge problem for elderly people, with those aged over 75 being most at risk. My auntie recently had a fall and as a result of it, she lost her confidence in getting out and about. Sadly, because of this, she remained in her house, watching television, and growing more and more isolated and withdrawn. This ultimately led to a deep depression and her health started to deteriorate significantly.
“Although services were offered to her, they were only very short ‘welfare’ visits. We as a family recognised that we needed to find a solution to maintaining her independence and help her live life to the full, but unfortunately there was nothing available to fill this gap.”
Vivienne’s personal circumstances also echoed Fran’s experience. Vivienne said: “My mother was becoming isolated due to caring for her husband. She wanted to get out and spend time doing what she loves while her husband was being cared for. Over the course of 54 years of marriage, my mum and dad did everything together, subsequently mum lost her confidence to do things like go to the theatre as she didn’t have anyone to go with. What she needed was a trusted companion, not a carer, or a taxi driver, but someone who would inspire and appreciate similar things. However as Fran found out, I also quickly realised there was nothing out there to fill this gap.”
Fran and Vivienne have now officially launched Just Company from their base in Kirkby Lonsdale. They are currently taking on clients around Cumbria and North Lancashire, organising accompanied outings, events and day trips on a paid-for membership basis.
Vivienne said: “Just Company is a new service to fill this gap, providing companionship to elderly people who wish to remain independent, but have lost confidence in achieving it. Just Company carefully matches companions to clients, therefore building a meaningful relationship so they can spend time getting to know each other and plan an exciting calendar of events, experiences and travel.”
She added: “Isolation and loneliness is a serious modern day problem. People are living so much longer, combined with the fact that families are working longer hours and living further apart. Families often feel guilty about not having the time or opportunity to take elderly loved ones out. I know from personal experience this has had a real impact on me and my family.”
Fran commented: “Looking at my auntie as an example scenario, I know she needs to get out the house and do things like go to the beach or watch a show. Just Company offers real experiences like this. The companion looks after all the logistics, keeps them company and gives the family peace of mind that they are safe and happy, doing things they will enjoy. If you are personally experiencing social isolation, or are concerned that a family member might be, then get in touch with us and we can start the ball rolling towards fun and adventure.”