Fam­ily sil­ver

The Sunday Telegraph - - Letters to the editor - Chris Ba­zlin­ton

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

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