Daily Express - - Waging War On Loneliness - ES­THER RANTZEN Founder of The Sil­ver Line

WHAT the Pear­son fam­ily have done is a bril­liant way to forge a won­der­ful new re­la­tion­ship – grand­par­ents are a re­ally valu­able part of fam­ily life.

Sil­ver Line callers of­ten tell us that Christ­mas can be the most painful time of year for them be­cause their fond me­mories of hap­pier times just em­pha­sise the lone­li­ness and iso­la­tion that they’re suf­fer­ing from.

It is in the New Year that we get even more calls be­cause when fam­i­lies reach out and re­mem­ber peo­ple at Christ­mas they of­ten get dropped back into iso­la­tion after­wards.

It can then seem even more bleak by com­par­i­son.

We have spo­ken to dozens of older peo­ple over the Christ­mas pe­riod who lit­er­ally have no­body to share this hol­i­day with. While tele­vi­sion ad­verts are full of happy fam­i­lies crowded around a Christ­mas din­ner ta­ble, they are fix­ing them­selves a snack or ready meal.

The Sil­ver Line’s chief ex­ec­u­tive spoke to one lady at 7pm on Christ­mas Day who was still wait­ing for her carer to bring her Christ­mas lunch.

We see a rise in calls around Christ­mas and I’m afraid last year we couldn’t meet the de­mand, it was so high. We think it will be even higher this year.

There is a real stigma around

lone­li­ness for older peo­ple. It’s dif­fi­cult to ad­mit that you need help when you have been needed and re­lied upon all your life.

If you suf­fer from a mental or phys­i­cal dis­abil­ity that makes it im­pos­si­ble to get out of your house with­out help then in­vi­ta­tions to Christ­mas or Box­ing Day par­ties are dif­fi­cult to ac­cept.

Most of us have got older peo­ple among our friends and fam­ily that we could at least ring and re­mind them that we care.

Tele­phone calls do make a dif­fer­ence.

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