Home-working is giving an insight into those we support on The Silver Line

Paul Goulden, Director of The Silver Line, shares his thoughts on lockdown, and the realisation that the way many of us are having to live now is ‘business as usual’ for some older people. 

We’re now 3 weeks into lockdown and many of us are working from home – which is bringing some new experiences.

It is fascinating to see the sparrows having dust baths in the vegetable patch and to be pestered by a dog who believes that me being home means I’m available to play 24/7.

But on the downside one thing that has struck me is – I seem to be cold all the time.

This is understandable – for me and many of us in the charity world the last few weeks have been manic; challenging and in many ways rewarding, but manic nevertheless. And as we are all now meeting on Zoom or Teams, we aren’t wandering into each others offices and pinching their biscuits, or stopping on the stairs to catch up about that project, or plans for the weekend.

So it means that we have been sat in front of a laptop or PC all day as our gateway to the outside world – not moving except to put the kettle on or grab some lunch and getting back to the screen. Not moving makes us feel the cold more, and being cold is miserable.

This is a situation that many callers to The Silver Line face – stuck at home, sat in one place for hours with just a screen to stare at.

Many will have long-term health conditions, and perhaps be bereaved or have relatives a long way away. For some the only contact they may have is with carers. 

And of course, the COVID-19 outbreak has just heaped more worry on these already vulnerable older people.

I and the other new home-workers are lucky – we can talk to each other online, get up and move around and take proper breaks and hopefully soon we can be back in the office. But for many of our callers, this is their everyday existence.

That is why The Silver Line is here – for those who need someone to talk to.

One call I listened to earlier in the year opened with the caller saying “I just want someone to cheer me up.” Thanks to our staff by the end of the call she was more positive about going out, and willing to give a lunch club another try.

This is what we do and why we are here – and COVID-19 has demonstrated we are more needed than ever before.