Growing old gracefully and in luxury, but maybe in lonely isolation

Written by Neil Goodwin on .

Some of the increasing number of exclusive retirement complexes in Marlborough.  Some of the increasing number of exclusive retirement complexes in Marlborough. Appearances, as the old saying goes, can be very deceptive.  More of us, especially those from the upper age groups are now living on our own and irrespective of the qualities of life that we enjoy, the gradual erosion of the connection with family, friends, work colleagues and neighbours can give rise to a real sense of loneliness.

There are many reasons why this can happen and plenty of factors that contribute towards this feeling of being alone.  Retirement and the departure from a working environment.  Death of a partner, of close friends, and/or family living far away.  Combined with the gradual slowing of physical capabilities this can all converge and mean that for many of us living alone, the contact and direct communication with others - that we have enjoyed, lived with and relied on for all of our earlier life - may become less regular, which can lead to the emergence of a real sense of isolation and loneliness.

To help alleviate this growing problem - enter Sliver Line.  This is a charity that aims to create a route for those sensing loneliness, offering a free confidential 24/7 helpline accessible to all - specifically targeting the over 55's and staffed by specially-trained staff who can offer respite from the corrosive sense of being alone.

Founded by Dame Esther Rantzen nearly six years ago following response to a newspaper article she wrote describing her feelings as a widow living alone following the death of her husband, Desmond Wilcox, Silver Line has grown slowly and steadily, aiming to provide a breadth and level of service that is sustainable and that it can deliver consistently.

Based partly on the experiences gained with her other high profile charity initiative, Child Line, the Silver Line helpline sets out to make older people feel valued, to include them, empower them, and connect them back to their communities.

Silver Line has now come to Marlborough, and Juliet Singer has taken the role of Volunteer Coordinator for The Silver Line in this area.  Juliet commented:  "This is an important new service offering real help to many with a problem that isn't widely recognised but can be incredibly debilitating."

"There are probably many among Marlborough's growing older community for whom this could be a real help, and that's why and The Silver Line want to tell people the help this charity can offer." she added.

Marlborough would appear to be a town increasingly for the elderly.  Is this accurate?  Maybe, as many, if not most of the developments over the past few years are aimed at the wealthy retired (and single?).  From the outside all can appear affluent and perfect, but moving from an established long-term environment where neighbours and friends were immediately to hand to somewhere that offers everything - bar an established and readily accessible society of old friends, neighbours and family - can create problems of loneliness.  Enter Silver Line, there to help when this unexpected and unwelcome sensation arises and to provide a route to establishing a new and embracing society network.

Silver Line Helpline: 0800 4 70 80 90

To find out more about Silver Line or to help by volunteering or donations, call 020 7224 2020 or click here for their web site.