A new service has been launched to provide a daily telephone call to vulnerable older people to check on their wellbeing.
The new service, named “Good Day Calls”, aims to tackle loneliness and provide older people and their families with security and support so that they can live well and independently in their own home.
Age Scotland said its service will bring reassurance to older people and their family that someone will call to speak with them 365 days a year as a check in ensuring they are well, offer support and have a friendly chat.
All of the calls will be made by workers in Orkney, where charity brand partner Age Scotland Orkney has already been operating this service for local older people.
The service costs £50 a month – although the charity will also offer it for free to a number of older people it identifies who are on low incomes and cannot afford it.
Age Scotland’s chief executive, Brian Sloan, said: “We know that more older people are living alone in Scotland and may not have regular visitors. Some feel lonely from time to time and worry that no one will notice if they take ill or are not up and about in the morning.
“It can also be hard for family members who lead busy lives to find the time to check in every day. Our phone calls will put everyone’s minds at ease and ensure that the visits and phone calls from family and friends are focussed on spending quality time together.”
He added: “We are also committed to ensuring this doesn’t exclude people on low incomes who really need the service. To do this we have set aside money from the charity to pay for people we have identified that will benefit from this and improve their quality of life. For a cost less than that of a daily cup of coffee these calls of friendship, support and advice can be a lifesaver – tackling loneliness, putting minds at ease and alerting emergency contacts of any causes for concern.”
The service, which is part of is part of Age Scotland’s new Independent Living service, will not operate and compete with the established “Good Morning Service” in Glasgow. Any small profits made will be put back into the charity’s activities to improve the lives of older people in Scotland.
Research by Age Scotland has found that 100,000 older people say they feel lonely all or most of the time, while 200,000 older people go at least half a week without a phone call or visit from anyone. Research has claimed that loneliness is as likely to put us at risk of an early death as smoking 15 cigarettes a day and can raise the likelihood of an early death by 29 per cent.