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Age Scotland plea to older Sutherland residents amid fears that Covid-19 omicron restrictions will make people feel more isolated across Scotland

By Philip Murray

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Covid-19 news.
Covid-19 news.

OLDER people in Sutherland feeling lonely or isolated have been urged to call Age Scotland's free friendship line.

The charity issued the offer as new Covid-19 restrictions came into force today (Monday), with advice to limit interactions and stay at home as much as possible going into 2022.

The charity’s latest research revealed that more than 105,000 older people in Scotland expected to feel lonely this Christmas, while 25 per cent felt anxious despite planning to celebrate with others.

Age Scotland’s 0800 12 44 222 friendship line will be open Monday – Friday, 9am – 5pm this week, hoping to ease the impact of isolation on older people by offering a friendly voice at the end of the phone for anyone who is on their own.

They’re also urging people to continue checking in with older friends, relatives and neighbours over this period to see if they are in need of any extra support.

Age Scotland’s chief executive, Brian Sloan, said: “The festive period is always a really difficult time of year for many older people, especially those living alone or without friends and family close by. After the festivities are over on the 25th, they might find themselves struggling with feelings of loneliness and isolation.

“It’ll be particularly difficult this year given the new restrictions in place from the 27th. These are an important and necessary measure to slow the spread of Covid-19 and protect the NHS at this critical time of year, but they will undoubtedly have a further impact on loneliness levels.

“Our free friendship line is a place where older people can turn if they are in need of support, comfort and reassurance or even just a friendly chat, and we’re delighted to be able to offer this service over the extended festive period this year. For those who find it difficult to tell loved ones how they are feeling, or who might not have anyone else to turn to, our experienced advisers are on hand to listen and have a blether.

“At a time when it is more important than ever for older people to feel valued and connected, our friendship calls can be a lifeline for those who are feeling alone. Just having a chat or a friendly ear to listen can make all the difference. It’s free to call on 0800 12 44 222, Monday to Friday 9am-5pm. We look forward to hearing from you.

“It’s also vital that we all reach out to older people in our streets and communities at this time of year, as together we can all play our part in making sure no one feels they are going through it alone.”

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