Friendship is just a phone call away for the elderly

Free phone service for the elderly aims to combat loneliness and will also offer confidential advice

A free 24-hour friendship phone service for the elderly has launched. The Silver Line, founded by TV personality Esther Rantzen CBE, acts as both a helpline for elderly people seeking confidential advice and protection from neglect and abuse, as well as providing a friendship service, with trained volunteers providing regular friendship calls.

A survey conducted by The Silver Line found that 87% of older people say talking on the phone would help combat loneliness, yet 25% say they rarely do so.

According to the Department of Health, loneliness is potentially as dangerous to human health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day.

Founder Esther Rantzen said: “It is tragic that older people are so undervalued and isolated. We hope all older people will turn to [The Silver Line] when they need information, friendship or protection… By showing we value them and care about them, we will restore their feelings of confidence and self-worth.”