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The Difference Between Life And Death This Winter?

May 20 2004
The Difference Between Life And Death This Winter?

Thirty two older people in the UK die alone and unnoticed in their homes every day - the equivalent of 12,000 a year. ( )

The figures do not surprise Glenis Scott, manager of the St John New Zealand Caring Caller service who says the volunteer telephone friendship service could mean the difference between life and death for some New Zealand elderly.

A survey by the WRVS - an organisation that helps the lonely and isolated in England, Scotland and Wales - has found that 72% of the older people it works with see two or fewer people each day and 8% see nobody on the average day. 10% said their WRVS volunteer was the person they saw most often during the week. This contrasts to the over 10 people daily that the general public see.

While similar statistics are not available for New Zealand, Mrs Scott says the need for the Caring Caller service, run by volunteers, is increasing. More than 472 lonely or housebound people now use the Caring Caller service, and with the need greater during winter when people tend stay indoors and see fewer people.

"Many people start to feel lonely and cut off from the world, but fortunately, it doesn't have to be that way. St John Caring Caller is a free long-term friendship service that puts you in touch every day with someone who cares about you."

Winter ailments were also a factor in increased demand among the elderly.

"Caring Caller is a precaution, just in case there is an emergency. If the caller cannot get an answer, St John will send someone to the home to make sure all is well - particularly important when neighbours, friends or family are away or cannot be nearby every day of the week."

To find out more about Caring Caller or if you know someone that might benefit from receiving a frequent friendly call, please phone 0800 780 780.

- ENDS -

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