Search

'It is heartwarming': Teenagers tackle loneliness and dementia

PUBLISHED: 18:00 10 October 2019 | UPDATED: 18:00 10 October 2019

YOPEY befriender Daisy Norton is one of the students who has made nearly 200 visits. Picture: John Bulpitt

YOPEY befriender Daisy Norton is one of the students who has made nearly 200 visits. Picture: John Bulpitt

bulpitt FRPS

Half of the people living in St John's House care home in Norwich have dementia, many are lonely and some do not get any visitors.

YOPEY befriender Thomas Curtis spends time with one of St John's 50 plus residents. Picture: John BulpittYOPEY befriender Thomas Curtis spends time with one of St John's 50 plus residents. Picture: John Bulpitt

But that has changed - thanks to seven teenagers from Sir Isaac Newton Sixth Form in Norwich - who have collectively made
nearly 200 visits and spent more than 250 hours at St John's House on Heigham Road.

A spokesperson for St John's House said: "The years seem to melt away as experiences are shared.

YOPEY befriender Amulya Patnam with a St John's resident. Picture: John BulpittYOPEY befriender Amulya Patnam with a St John's resident. Picture: John Bulpitt

"There is laughter and memories are evoked of childhood and school days. There has not been a generation divide between the young students and our residents."

The students have also made a huge difference to those in the care home living with dementia.

Teenagers from a Norwich sixth form have been helping to make Norfolk a 'Beacon for Befriending'. Picture: John BulpittTeenagers from a Norwich sixth form have been helping to make Norfolk a 'Beacon for Befriending'. Picture: John Bulpitt

The spokesperson added: "Our residents who are living with a dementia have found these visits beneficial and it has been heartwarming to see. The students have treated each of them with respect and seen the person not the dementia.

You may also want to watch:

"They are people who have lived a full life, had a breadth of experiences and all have a story to tell. The students have learnt how important it is to keep these memories alive, by engaging, connecting and reminiscing."

And the students, who are
aged 17 and 18, have become
the second highest Young
People of the Year (YOPEY) befrienders in the country.

Stradishall based charity YOPEY trains older school children and connects them with people living in care homes.

YOPEY founder Tony Gearing, who is an MBE for services to young people in the UK, said: "I want to make young people in Norfolk among the best befrienders in the country.

"We have other YOPEY Befriender schemes in Norfolk starting in Wymondham and Dereham, but currently the YOPEY Befriender scheme in Norwich is the best in the county and the second best in the country."

The scheme does not only benefit people living in care homes though, as the
students have also reaped in the benefits.

A spokesperson for Sir Isaac Newton Sixth Form said: "Our students have gained skills useful to them in future careers such as medicine, nursing and other people-focused jobs but, more importantly, they have gained new friends from a different generation."

Most Read

Most Read

Latest from the Eastern Daily Press

Hot Jobs

Show Job Lists