Age UK Somerset has adapted its services to meet the needs of local older people in these uncertain times. Aiming to reach those who are feeling particularly cut-off during self-isolation, the charity have set up a new service to alleviate the sense of loneliness experienced by many, especially those shielding alone.
The Friendly Phone Calls service involves each client receiving a regular friendly phone call from a member of Age UK Somerset staff, to check in on them and help them to feel more connected. The regular calls alleviate anxiety and offer clients an opportunity to talk about their concerns, allowing staff to signpost them to any other services which may be of further help to them.
This is a vital service for older people during the lockdown, many of whom do not speak to anyone else for days or even weeks. One lady who is receiving a weekly call said of the service: “It’s excellent, a great help. It’s one of the things that will help us get through this, knowing there’s someone who cares enough to call you and see how you are getting on. It’s nice having someone to talk to and complain to!”
As more older people register for the service, or are referred to the service through partner organisations such as Mind (with whom Age UK Somerset works as part of the Somerset Mental Health Alliance), the local charity has now increased the size of their friendly team, to meet demand. Anyone over 60 in Somerset or North Somerset can hear a friendly voice on the end of the phone to help cheer up their day if they request the free service.
A poster with information about the service can been seen here: Friendly Phone Calls
Volunteering & Communications Manager, Age UK