Loneliness Awareness Week and Telephone Befriending

As lockdown eases, for the over 65s awareness of loneliness and mental health is even more crucial now in order that we look after some of the more vulnerable residents in later years.

In many cases this is an even harder time for those still housebound watching the world open up for the first time. Assumptions that most are connecting again and no longer in need of the extra company in many instances could be considered as premature. Of course, in Essex we are also living with a rise in loneliness inherited before the Corona Virus crisis which highlights a now even greater urgency for volunteers to come forward and for the befriending service to function at full throttle. We at Age Concern want to support as many of our community in NE Essex as we can.

Those that are shielding will continue to need connection. With all the modern gadgets at our disposal, we are fortunate enough to have instant social contact enabled by the internet e.g. Facetime, Zoom and Skype. While some of us are beginning to venture outside once again, why not continue to harness this technology going forward in the campaign to beat loneliness? Staying in touch through technology is still crucial in the days and months ahead particularly for those with mobility issues. Although never the same as face to face, it can be reassuring that someone can be seen just at the press of a button. At the same time this kind of contact will help anyone concerned assess the specific physical and emotional needs of our elderly neighbours especially if a companion is struggling to look after themselves whilst living alone.

We are always on the look out for telephone befrienders to connect with the community so that their path through these difficult times is as comfortable as possible. So let’s end loneliness together!