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Blog: World Kindness Day - You've got a friend in us

Image copyright: Andrew Cawley @acawleyphoto

Published on 13 November 2020 09:23 AM

Image copyright: Andrew Cawley @acawleyphoto

The term ‘lockdown loneliness’ has gradually worked its way into our vocabulary, but what does it actually mean for older people?

We have long been aware of the dangers chronic loneliness poses. Prolonged isolation is as bad for your health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day, it increases the risk of heart disease, anxiety, depression and developing dementia.

From the moment the country went into lockdown earlier this year, we saw a significant increase in the volume of calls from older people missing face to face contact with family and friends and the absence of social activities.

Many reported feeling anxious and disconnected from their communities and it quickly became clear that the time was right to ramp up the friendship offering of our free helpline.

Being cooped up indoors for long periods of time has undoubtedly taken its toll on our mental health, especially for those who were shielding or living alone.

That’s why we launched our friendship line, aiming to help tens of thousands of older people feeling increasingly isolated and lonely during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The free friendship line is a place where older people can turn if they are in need of support, comfort and reassurance or even just a friendly chat. For those who find it difficult to tell loved ones how they are feelings, or who might not have anyone else to turn to, our experienced advisers have been on hand to listen and have a blether.

Loneliness can affect anyone of any age, but many of the triggers tend to happen in later life changes such as bereavement, retirement, moving to a new areas, illness or children moving away from home.

At a time when it is more important than ever for older people to feel valued and connected, our calls can be a lifeline for those who are feeling alone. Just having a chat or a friendly ear to listen can make all the difference.

Signing up for weekly friendship calls can also offer a sense of routine that’s especially welcome during stressful times and give people something to look forward to.

We'll be facing the uncertainty and after effects of this pandemic for months to come. In times of uncertainty, one thing is guaranteed - you always have a friend in us.

Winter is a difficult time for older people and our friendship line is there to help to reduce feelings of loneliness and isolation. Our friendship caller base has grown recently and we fully predict a further increase in demand as we move closer to Christmas.

So, if you or anyone you know fancies a weekly blether, our friendship line is open Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm. It’s free to call on 0800 12 44 222. We look forward to hearing from you.

To anyone of my generation who is feeling down, give Age Scotland a call. It does help.

John, 75, West Lothian

I always feel better after having a call. Everyone is so friendly and easy to talk to. It makes me so happy!

Rosalind, 79, Angus

The Age Scotland helpline

Call our helpline on 0800 12 44 222 for free to speak to an adviser. Open Monday to Friday 9am - 5pm.

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