In New Zealand and around the world, the number of older people is growing rapidly, and the 65+ age group is the fastest growing group of all.
Many older people are cut off from everyday contact with others, and experience high levels of loneliness. The cost of loneliness and social isolation is well established in terms of both personal and community costs and the financial costs to primary and secondary health care systems. It is vital for the individual and their communities that we address this growing problem.
What we do
Silver Line is a free confidential telephone helpline offering information, friendship and advice to the older 55s throughout New Zealand that will be available 24 hours a day.
To assess the potential uptake of the service, we conducted a three month restricted pilot project, modelled on The Silver Line in the UK, in conjunction with Lifeline Aotearoa and 2 Degrees. A report on the pilot can be found here.
In addition, we work closely with The Silver Line in the United Kingdom. Its service has been running since 2013, and has been extremely successful in alleviating loneliness among older people in the UK.
Importance of evidence
Silver Line is building in steps to ensure what we do is relevant and effective. We are doing this by, for example:
- Drawing from the valuable experience of our UK counterparts
- Building on the experience we gained in our own pilot
- Continuing service evaluation by the AUT Centre for Active Ageing.