When does an acquaintance become a friend? Voluteering at a Friends of the Elderly care home

Anne Methold (right) with some of the residents of Bernard Sunley playing boules

In the run up to Volunteers’ Week 2017 which takes place on 1-7 June, Anne Methold shares her experience of being a volunteer at our Bernard Sunley care home in Woking.

In the five years since she became a volunteer Anne has made friends with residents, staff and relatives alike. She is currently leading on boules sessions every Wednesday at the care home.

Bernard Sunley Activities Coordinator, Gloria Castro says:

“Boules sessions, led by Anne, are held every Wednesday at Bernard Sunley. Boules is played for the challenge and competition, personal enjoyment, activity and for social interaction. It is also a low-impact, therapeutic form of exercise. Health professionals recommend playing it, particularly for older people, as it provides a number of health benefits, including:
• improved fitness
• improved coordination and skill development
• increased confidence and self-esteem
• enhanced mental wellbeing
• community connectedness and support.

Residents really enjoy this activity, and also the sherry and nibbles we usually have afterwards.”

Anne says:

“Playing bowls with the residents and sharing the hard work bit (picking up all the bowls!) with visiting relatives means sharing in sickness and health, holidays and difficulties and coming to really care about one another’s wellbeing … this becomes friendship.

Being there through the dark days of serious illness with a resident and then having the joy of watching gradual recovery and rehabilitation over many months, sharing Easter Eggs and Christmas gifts, meeting up with their relatives and sharing the big decisions of life with them, chatting regularly and bringing news from outside the home … all these things bring residents into a close and valued place of friendship.

A residential home is only a microcosm of life anywhere and we all need friends to make sense of each day and to feel valued and loved.”

On 31 May, Bernard Sunley will play against our Redcot care home in a special boules match, followed by lunch. Good luck to everyone taking part!