Skip to content
Call us free on 0800 4 70 80 90

Open 24 hours a day, every day

Our Impact

No older person should have to experience loneliness

Age UK's Silver Line Helpline is a free 24-hour telephone service just for older people. Call free on 0800 4 70 80 90 to talk to us now.

Call us now

Loneliness is an uncomfortable, difficult feeling to experience. But as many older people across the UK can attest to, it can also be difficult to acknowledge and talk about.

Sometimes, loneliness isn't even easy to recognise. You can be surrounded by people and still feel lonely – it’s about whether the interactions you’re having with others are meaningful and make you feel connected with others.

Supporting older people experiencing loneliness

The Silver Line Helpline is a 24-hour telephone support service run by Age UK for older people. We offer older people conversation, connection, support, and friendship.

Loneliness can only be alleviated through connection. With more older people than ever at risk of loneliness and isolation, there's never been a more urgent need for services like The Silver Line Helpline.

How loneliness is affecting older people


1.4 million older people are lonely

Before the pandemic, around 1 in 12 people aged fifty and over (that’s 1.4 million people) in England were often lonely.

The impact of COVID

27% of people aged 60+ say they speak less to family now than before the start of the pandemic.

An offline solution to loneliness

Among those aged over 75, two out of five (around 2.2 million older people) don't use the internet.

Rachel's story

Rachel rang The Silver Line when she was at the lowest point in her life, dealing with health difficulties and other issues.

“I was in a bad place, and it came to the point where I really didn’t want to be here anymore, I just couldn’t bear it. To start with, I called [The Silver Line] when I was feeling lonely because I live on my own and I find evenings very difficult.”

Thanks to this support, Rachel was able to talk through her feelings, feel listened to, and get through a very difficult time.

How does Age UK's Silver Line help?

As a free, confidential telephone service, we give older people the chance to pick up the phone and enjoy a chat, get some support, and feel all the wonderful benefits that come from talking to a friend.

The kind of conversations that occur on The Silver Line depends entirely on what the person who is calling needs at that moment.

A caller might just want to exchange a brief, friendly word with someone who cares. Or they may want to enjoy an enriching conversation or have a much-needed heart-to-heart with a trusted confidante.

The Silver Line Helpline also offers older people:

  • information and support
  • insight into how to access local groups and services
  • a referral to regular friendship calls, a service also run by Age UK
  • support for those experiencing abuse and neglect.

270,000 calls

Between March 2020 and March 2021, The Silver Line received over 270,000 calls. That’s roughly 30 calls per hour from older people across the UK.

Julian volunteers for The Silver Line

"I enjoy taking calls – you just never know what kinds of calls you’re going to get.

Some of the callers need signposting to the right thing and it gives me a warm feeling inside that I’ve helped them.

"Some callers just purely need to chat to someone as they could be feeling lonely or low."

We do have regular callers phoning in, too. Some of the time, the caller will recognise your voice and be very pleased to talk to you again.

It makes you feel good that you are helping people, and you made their day by chatting with them."

Help us reach more older people

One of the biggest barriers to being able to support more older people is whether they know about the service or not.

While we received over 270,000 calls between March 2020 and 2021, there will inevitably be older people in the UK who don't know about The Silver Line and the support we offer.

By spreading the word and sharing how to get in touch via our free 24-hour phone line, you can help support older people who may be experiencing loneliness or isolation.

Remember – if you’re an older person, you can call us for free on 0800 4 70 80 90 any time of the day or night.

The Silver Line Helpline is a lifeline for many, and I hope more people will get to hear about it.

Helen, Silver Line volunteer

How can you help?

We couldn’t provide older people with friendship, support and connection without help.

Explore how you can make a difference to help older people across the UK by supporting Age UK's Silver Line Helpline.

Volunteer with us

Become a part of The Silver Line story and support older people by offering them friendship, conversation and connection.

Age UK’s Silver Line Helpline is the UK's only free, confidential, 24-hour helpline providing friendship for older people.

Become part of our story

Back to top