SIR – It was wonderful to see and hear about the events taking place to mark Silver Sunday last week, celebrating the contributions that older people make to our society.
Sadly, however, the first day of the month also saw 1,710 calls to our helpline from older people who felt that no one cared for them. Many had not spoken to anyone for days, sometimes weeks.
In just under four years, we have taken over 1.5 million calls from older people with amazing life stories who now feel disconnected from the world. Yet as demand for our service grows, raising funds from voluntary sources is getting harder: emblematic of attitudes towards older people as a worthy cause.
This needs to change. The “silver generation” should be cherished – and we all have a part to play in making them feel cared for, wanted, and part of their community. It would also go a long way towards addressing the epidemic of loneliness that is blighting the lives of many older – and often vulnerable – citizens.
To this end, as Joanna Lumley highlights (Features, October 1), human interaction is essential: 90 per cent of our callers live alone, and over half speak to no one but us. Moreover, a large proportion are not online – but even for those who are, in the words of one of our callers: “Emails and texts cannot replace hearing a human voice.” Sophie Andrews CEO, The Silver Line London SW11