Across the UK, many older people suffer silently with loneliness.
Older people are often left isolated, sometimes through bereavement, disability or poor health. Some simply have no one in their lives to talk to, while others are vulnerable, confused or at risk of abuse.
Chronic loneliness can cause both emotional and physical harm, and is associated with an increased risk of coronary heart disease, stroke, depression and Alzheimer's.
Thankfully, there are charities working to provide companionship to those in need. The Silver Line offers support and friendship to lonely older people by running a free and confidential helpline, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
The Silver Line was set up to:
- Offer information, friendship and advice,
- Link callers to local groups and services, and
- Protect and support older people who are suffering abuse and neglect.
Each year, helpline staff answer about 280,000 calls, many from older people who have no one else to speak to.
The charity is supported by players of People's Postcode Lottery, who have raised more than £2 Million for The Silver Line so far.
When there is nowhere else for older people to turn, The Silver Line is there, at any time of the day or night.
Over the last 12 months, the helpline has been more important than ever. The isolation brought on by the COVID-19 crisis has seen an alarming increase in loneliness in older people. Many who are supported by The Silver Line have reported feelings of anxiety and depression since the pandemic began.
During 2020, The Silver Line:
- Quickly established a fully functioning remote helpline, while still delivering the service 24/7,
- Trained 75 volunteers to deliver shifts on the helpline, and
- Supported thousands of older people who had had their support structures reduced or removed entirely.
While the first few months of 2021 will likely continue to be challenging, The Silver Line is committed to delivering its services to brighten the lives of isolated and lonely older people across the UK.
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