The Silver Line’s friendship service provides unique support, says 86-year-old Littlehampton widow

The Silver Line charity runs Silver Line Friends, a weekly phone befriending service matching  an older person, called a Silver Liner, to a like-minded volunteer, called a Silver Line Friend
The Silver Line charity runs Silver Line Friends, a weekly phone befriending service matching an older person, called a Silver Liner, to a like-minded volunteer, called a Silver Line Friend

Losing her husband of 63 years was a traumatic time for Doris Younger.

She had been his carer for the last two years of his life, so she was given a lot of support from her doctor and social workers, but she found it difficult to make sense of it all.

Read more: ‘Brilliant’ befriending service The Silver Line gives older people a regular time to chat

The 86-year-old from Littlehampton said it was an awful time for her.

“Everybody was there for me. I had loads and loads of people wanting to help me and that is great but you can’t take it all in,” she said.

The Silver Line, a free telephone friendship service for older people, was one of those to make contact to see how it could help and its support has proved invaluable for Doris.

She said: “Quite honestly, for a long time I could not take it all in. When they asked me what I enjoyed, I couldn’t even remember. It was a traumatic time.

“When I was introduced to Jean, we found we were both older, she has two sons who don’t always agree, same as me, we love sport, we love wildlife, we like the same things.

“She telephones every Wednesday at 11am and that is more important than anything. I don’t arrange anything else that day and she is the same, she makes sure nothing interferes with the call.”

Doris says she is lucky as she has family living close by, and they visit daily, but having Jean as a Silver Line Friend for the past three years as been a big help, too – a different kind of support.

Doris explained: “She is fantastic. It is like you can speak to someone who doesn’t really know you. They don’t know your background, they have a different aspect. She is not a person I can say I know, I only know what she tells me.

“It’s the most fantastic friendship ever. We can talk about anything.

“At 86, I am still quite active. I have got everything I need. The Silver Line really does great things and they are not recognised enough.”

The Silver Line is the only free, 24/7, confidential helpline in the UK for vulnerable, isolated older people.

The charity provides two additional services:

Silver Line Friends is a weekly phone befriending service between a volunteer, called a Silver Line Friend, and an older person, called a Silver Liner.

Silver Connects is an advocacy service connecting older people with services they need, from mental health referrals to tea dances, to parrots.

The charity receives no public funding, raising every penny through the generosity of individuals, companies, trusts and foundations, and partners like People’s Postcode Lottery.

Visit www.thesilverline.org.uk for more information or call 0800 4708090 any time.

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