In just over six months, a strong partnership has formed between Alertacall and one of our brilliant charity partners, Silver Stories. Recently, the charity welcomed Her Royal Highness (HRH), The Duchess of Cornwall, as their new patron. As the winter comes ever closer and the dark evenings creep in, we are encouraging both schools and housing providers to get involved and reap the benefits of this wonderful scheme.
As discussed in our previous blog post, which you can read here, the basis of Silver Stories is very simple. Through the art of storytelling, the charity brings together older members of local communities with younger, school-aged children.
In 2020, Age UK said that the COVID-19 Pandemic had a huge impact on the loneliness experienced by older adults. This was a result of extended lockdowns and social distancing regulations. As some of the most vulnerable in society, older individuals were encouraged to stay at home and isolate themselves from the dangers of the rampant virus.
For many of those involved with Silver Stories, the only contact they had with the outside world was via the telephone call they received from a young child reading them a story. Age UK has found that loneliness affects over one million people aged 65+ in the United Kingdom alone.
During the phone call, the child reads a story of their choice, usually for about 10 minutes. Silver Stories recommends that the phone calls are made once a week at a regular time. The beginning and end of the phone calls are made up of everyday conversation. Silver Stories themselves say this usually involves dialogue about how each parties week has gone and any jokes or memories they would like to share.
Feedback from involved schools has been resoundingly positive. They have commended the partnership for helping children to practise their reading out loud and increasing their confidence and communication skills. Housing providers have commended the scheme for improving psychological wellbeing and reduced the loneliness and isolation felt by their residents.
There is a real sense of pride for the children involved. When they have recorded in their reading record that they have read a story to a silver listener ten times across ten weeks, they can receive a downloadable certificate. For the older individual, it provides real enjoyment and helps them to feel more connected to younger members of their community.
During her phone conversation with HRH The Duchess of Cornwall, silver reader Teagan said that her silver listener Val has told her how her “stories always make my day”.
Numerous studies show the positive impact regular contact between elderly individuals and children can have on both parties. If you are a housing or care provider and you wish to find out more or get involved with this fantastic project, click here for more information.