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Age Scotland is encouraging older people who are feeling lonely or isolated to call their free friendship line.
The plea comes after new Covid restrictions were brought in advising people to limit social interactions and to stay at home as much as possible.
Age Scotland’s 0800 12 44 222 friendship line is open from Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm, and will offer a friendly voice at the end of the phone for anyone who is on their own.
The charity for the elderly is 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 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. These are an important and necessary measure to slow the spread of Covid 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.
‘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.’
‘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 to 5pm. We look forward to hearing from you.’