Fifty four percent of calls to The Silver Line are from lonely older people

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Esther on phone
Esther on phone

ON 25th NOVEMBER 2014, THE SILVER LINE HELPLINE CELEBRATES ITS FIRST BIRTHDAY TAKING ALMOST 300,000 CALLS FROM LONELY OLDER PEOPLE IN ONE YEAR

In its first year, the free, confidential helpline for older people has been inundated with calls, far more than they anticipated, the biggest single problem being loneliness. More than half the callers (54%) told the helpline they had literally nobody else to talk to. Esther Rantzen, the Founder and President, says “We knew loneliness existed in this country, but the extent of this epidemic of loneliness and isolation suffered by people over 65 has shocked and alarmed us.   Many of our callers ring us on a regular basis because they tell us we are the reason they can get through the day.   As one widow told me “Many times I have wanted to give up.   Now I have something to live for, so thank you Esther, you have really saved my sanity.”

In addition to the helpline, The Silver Line has trained more than 850 volunteers to become Silver Line Friends, making regular befriending calls to more than 1100 older people.   The Silver Line has  set up Silver Circles, conference calls for several like-minded people who want to chat in a group and Silver Letters for people who like to write and receive hand-written letters and who may be hearing impaired.

Esther Rantzen said that listening to calls and reading letters from isolated older people have made her realise that there are ways to make sure you are not alone at this vulnerable time in our lives.   She said, “The first lesson for all of us, including me at the age of 74, is Be Nice.   Nobody wants the company of someone who is grumpy, critical or complaining.   The second is, Have Daughters.   Or make sure you and your daughter-in-law get on well.   And the third, Try to create some fun in your life.   The killer question we ask many of our uncomplaining callers who, above all, don’t want to be a burden, is “what do you do for fun?”   And many of them tell us, “I haven’t had fun for years.   Fun is for young people.”   Well, it’s time we put that right, especially at Christmas time.”

To watch new The Silver Line Christmas film, Visiting Gramps, click onto www.thesilverline.org.uk

 

 

CALLS FROM LONELY OLDER PEOPLE IN ONE YEAR

  • Nearly 200,000* more calls have been received than was anticipated when they launched on 25 November 2013, following a grant from Big Lottery Fund 
  • The single biggest problem is loneliness, and as The Silver Line is the only free confidential helpline for older people which is open 24/7, most calls are made in the evenings, overnight and during the weekend
  • Today, The Silver Line announces a new partnership with the Care Quality Commission (CQC), to reach out to older people who are cared for in their homes and in residential care, helping CQC respond to any issues or concerns and to identify cases of good practice

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