Congratulations to Esther Rantzen for inspiring and supporting an invaluable initiative for the older generation.
Everyone has heard of Childline; now everyone’s favourite campaigner has put her weight behind Silver Line, a phone service for older people who feel lonely and want a voice to chat to http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-19587903.
The system will be trialed in the Isle of Man this year and rolled out across the UK in 2013, if successful.
Working for an organisation that provides retirement lifestyles for the older generation I understand how loneliness can become a living nightmare although I’m pleased to say I haven’t witnessed it at any of our villages.
Many residents come to view our private retirement properties and villages with their families and one of the key reasons for doing so is to find relief from the loneliness of living by themselves.
I have personally seen huge changes in people’s outlook and demeanour when they move into one of our villages. Many already have lots of friends and family but for some widows and widowers in particular, they suddenly find they have literally hundreds of new friends around them. It’s wonderful to see.
For single men and women, living by themselves in a large family house it can be incredibly lonely, particularly as we head towards the winter months. Some people may not see or speak to another human being for days or even weeks.
This account from one lady in the Mail Online is extremely moving but reinforces just how isolated the older generation can feel in these circumstances. View the article here.
I’m pleased to say, loneliness is not an issue for Retirement Villages where older residents’ social lives are very often far more hectic and fun than people half their age!
But as a provider for this generation we do realise how loneliness can become an illness and have real impact on a person’s health and well-being. It is for this reason that our village social calendars were set up and why residents choose to look out for each other. Everyone realises the affects of loneliness and no-one wants to see anyone suffering this way.
We sincerely applaud the work of Esther Rantzen and the Silver Line initiative and look forward to seeing it introduced for general use across the UK in 2013.