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Tea and togetherness: find companionship each month at Colten Care homes

Combat loneliness and find companionship at each of Colten Care's New Forest homes at a new monthly café open to all

According to a report by Age UK, there are 1.2 million older people who describe themselves as being chronically lonely and the number of ­isolated older people in Great Britain is predicted to rise to two million by 2026, a 49% incdrease in ten years. There are many causes of loneliness, including poor health, bereavement and a lack of contact with family, friends or neighbours.

COMMUNITY FRIENDS. Colten Care is inviting people to banish loneliness with Tea & TogethernessResearch indicates that loneliness can be a crucial factor in developing Alzheimer’s disease - apparently, older people who report that they experience severe loneliness are twice as likely to develop the condition. And loneliness is physically as well as mentally damaging – as dangerous as smoking 15 cigarettes a day, according to one study. 

It's a real problem and something that we should all consider as we rush about in our busy lives. 

In a recent article in the Daily Telegraph (that's definitely worth a read), 'The Silver Line is their lifeline', Dame Esther Rantzen explains about the charity she founded in 2013 to bring companionship to older people who are struggling with severe loneliness and chronic ­isolation.

Companionship is vitally important, and not just at the end of a telephone. Reminiscing about days gone by, interacting with other people and passing on snippets of wisdom gained over a lifetime can all help a lonely older person to engage with the world.

Confronting community loneliness

Over the last year, family-owned care home provider Colten Care has been helping to confront community loneliness by welcoming local residents seeking companionship into their Court Lodge residential home in Lymington. The 'Ladies' Afternoon Tea' and 'Gentlemen's Lunch Club' were open to all in the local community, along with 'Come Dine with Us' at Belmore Lodge in Pennington.

GOOD COMPANY. Colten Care is inviting people to banish loneliness with Tea & Togetherness. Margaret Howl, right, and Sue Turner enjoy one of the monthly get-togethers.In addition a monthly get-together began last summer at Colten's new Bourne View home in Poole. The initiatives have proved extremely popular; more and more members of the local community have been attending to socialise at the homes and Colten residents have appreciated widening their circle of friends.

Regular visitor Margaret Howl said: “It’s fantastic. You are always made so welcome and I am meeting people I haven’t seen for years. It’s a happy, friendly experience each time. I never expected to be coming into a care home and enjoying this level of companionship. I mark it in my diary every month so I can make sure to avoid anything else that might come up. I am definitely planning to come all through 2020.”

Margaret has already struck up a friendship with fellow visitor Sue Turner, who said: “I would encourage anyone living on their own, or who is feeling lonely, to come along. So many elderly people live away from their families and are not speaking much with neighbours. In contrast, these get-togethers are wonderful, just the best thing. They get you out of the house, help keep your brain active and you can even have a dance if you want the exercise. The whole atmosphere is friendly. It’s an occasion full of smiles and lovely people.”

Monthly get-togethers to enjoy company and conversation

In 2020 Colten Care are introducing 'Tea and Togetherness' at 21 homes across the South, including in Lymington, Pennington, Brockenhurst, New Milton and Mudeford. Starting this month, people in the New Forest who may be feeling lonely are invited to join free monthly get-togethers to enjoy gentle company and conversation over a cup of tea (and delicious cake!) 

COMMUNITY FRIENDS. Colten Care is inviting people to banish loneliness with Tea & TogethernessMark Aitchison, Colten Care Chief Executive said: “We want to build on our success at Bourne View by introducing similar events for all the communities our homes serve including the New Forest. We’ve been making contact with people in Lymington, Brockenhurst, New Milton and Mudeford through GP surgeries, churches and community facilities to help promote what we’re doing. We have always worked hard to help elderly people who may be at risk of feeling isolated - it’s not something new for us. But, equally, we know there is increasing awareness of the impact of loneliness on health and wellbeing and so we’ve stepped up our efforts to make a difference.”

Tea and Togetherness Café in the New Forest

Tea & Togetherness takes place at:

For more information, call 01425 460985. All get-togethers start at 2.30pm.

Covid-19: it is not currently possible to visit Colten Care's homes. Please find more details here:

If you have a friend, family member or neighbour who you think would enjoy finding companionship at Tea and Togetherness, please do pass them information about when and where the café is taking place.

Find out more about Colten Care's New Forest homes

Colten Care operates six residential nursing and care homes in the New Forest, including three in Lymington: Belmore Lodge, Court Lodge and dementia specialist Linden House. There are also homes in Brockenhurst (Woodpecker's), New Milton (Kingfisher's) and Mudeford (Avon Reach). Click on the links to find out more about each home...

Covid-19: it is not currently possible to visit Colten Care's homes. Please find more details here:

Colten Care's Avon Reach    Colten Care Court Lodge Lymington    Colten Care Linden House Lymington 

Colten Care Belmore Lodge Lymington    Colten Care Kingfishers New Milton    Colten Care Woodpeckers Brockenhurst