Volunteers make dramatic improvements to quality of life for older people, it has been found.
A joint study commissioned by three charities has reported that an overwhelming majority of elderly people – 83 per cent – felt that contact with volunteers improved their life.
The study – Making a Difference through Volunteering – suggests that personal contact to combat isolation, day-to-day help that promotes greater independence, conversation and friendship were the most important things to come out of such schemes.
Volunteers nearly all (90 per cent) said that helping the elderly has a positive impact on their lives too.
The study was carried out jointly by Community Service Volunteers, Help the Aged and the British Red Cross. 160 older people and 160 volunteers were interviewed for the research.
Michael Lake, director general of Help the Aged, said: "The value that volunteers give to the quality of life of older people remains largely unrecognised and it is high time we saw a sea change in this."
"Without such support, many older people would struggle to stay independent, become socially isolated, not to mention having their dignity severely compromised," he added.
Help the Aged has urged people to volunteer by looking after their elderly neighbours in the heat this week.