Loneliness, Ill-health and Telephone Befriending

Alone again – naturally

Telephone Befriending – One Way to Combat Loneliness

In the UK, it is estimated that 500,0000 people were on their own last Christmas.. thuis is just one statistic that shows how pervasive loneliness is in modern society.

‘Being lonely’ is one of the challenges of life that many people experience, but chronic isolation is another matter. Can you imagine the effect of spending days without having a meaningful conversation with anyone/

Human beings are social animals. If you deprive a person of human contact that has a profound impact on them. It has been estimated that loneliness can cause as much damage as smoking 15 cigarettes a day.

Many religious and other voluntary groups have programmes to help bring people together. As church attendance continues to drop, it will fall to others, whether they are running book clubs, coffee mornings or amateur art exhibitions to take up the challenge of improving community involvement.

The UK’s Silver Line telephone befriending service started in late 2013 and hand currently has about 1,000 volunteers with another 1,000 being trained up to make a weekly call to someone who is alone. The charity has made over 400,000 calls in the last 18 months or so.

Behind every call there is a story that is significant and sad.. Unfortunately it might be that the service is only reaching a small proportion of those in need. The Sliver Line says that: “67% of older people say loneliness and isolation is their principal reason for calling the helpline but the stigma of loneliness means that they are often reluctant to ask for help. 88% of callers to The Silver Line live on their own. 7 out of every 10 calls (68%) are made in the evenings and at weekends….

….9 out of 10 older people told researchers that “a chat on the phone” is the most helpful solution when they feel lonely but 1 in 4 older people say they never or seldom have someone to chat to on the phone. ”

Relevant Link: http://www.thesilverline.org.uk/what-we-do/

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