The Silver Line Helpline, pilot project due to commence in the Isle of Man shortly is the brain child of Esther Rantzen, who was responsible for establishing Childline nearly 30 years ago. This latest service is designed to help vulnerable older people, supporting those who are suffering social isolation and help those who might be suffering from neglect and or abuse.
Ms Rantzen who herself recently wrote about her experiences, loneliness and isolation she has experienced since her husband passed away and subsequently spending time living alone, the Helpline will provide support for older people in the following ways:
•a sign-posting service to link them into the many, varied services that exist around the country;
•a befriending service to combat loneliness;
•and a means of empowering those who may be suffering abuse and neglect, if appropriate to transfer them to specialist services such as Action on Elder Abuse, in order to protect them from harm.
Commenting on The Silver Line Helpline, Gail Godson Director of Home Instead West Lancashire and Chorley said "Social isolation and neglect of the elderly is becoming one of societies biggest challenges, seeing so many lonely and vulnerable adults in our local community, often receiving unacceptable levels of care and support inspired us to try and make a difference with our Home Instead quality care service, but it takes a real visionary like Esther (Rantzen) to understand the scale of the challenge nationally and then put in place such a valuable service with a possible UK wide solution. We will clearly be offering everyone at The Silver Line Helpline our unconditional support and send our very good wishes for the pilot project."
The Silver Line HelpLine is reliant for funds from donors and supporters, a grant of £50k has already been pledged by the Department of Health. Fifty one per cent of people over seventy five are living alone and there are ten million people in the UK who are over sixty five. Isolation and loneliness can impact on older people and it can take effect in many ways, shortening life expectancy, creating depression, hastening the onset of dementia, and contributing to physical effects such as malnutrition and dehydration. Many services are available around the country which could counteract these effects, if only older people were sign posted into them and forty per cent of older people, according to a 2011 survey do not know where to turn.
If the pilot in the Isle of Man is successful, The Silver Line Helpline has plans to be rolled out around the UK, further details can be found on the The Silver Line UK web site or on Twitter @TheSilverLineUK.