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Rachel's story

“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.”

Rachel is a retired specialist counsellor and self-described senior citizen who was recently going through a tough time. Health complications and other challenges left her feeling lonely and unable to cope.

When things got particularly difficult, Rachel turned to The Silver Line Helpline. While it wasn’t her first time being part of a telephone conversation offering friendship and support, she was used to being on the other end of the line!

“[I used to volunteer] for a telephone counselling organisation, [but it] lost all its funding and had to close. It was very rewarding but unfortunately, I’m not well enough to do that now. I do miss it, it’s hard being stuck behind these four walls.”

Inspired by the bravery of the callers she used to support, Rachel picked up the phone and dialled 0800 4 70 80 90 to connect with a Silver Line team member.

“Sometimes the evenings are very hard to get through”

“I can’t remember who it was I spoke to [when I called the first time], but I told her that I didn’t want to be here anymore. She spent a lot of time talking to me and she really helped. She saved my life.”

Rachel was struck by how kind the voice on the other end of the phone was. Rachel and the team member spent a long time on the phone and Rachel was able to explain more of her personal situation. The team member supported Rachel and encouraged her not to blame herself for what was happening to her.

When the call was coming to an end, The Silver Line team member urged Rachel to call again if she needed to.

Calling The Silver Line late at night

Finding it helpful to chat with someone who really cared about how she was feeling, Rachel continued to call The Silver Line Helpline over the coming weeks.

“To start with, [I’d call] when I was feeling lonely because I live on my own and I find evenings very hard to get through sometimes, but the calls can be about anything really.”

“I used it every night for about three weeks, and it really kept me going. They’re very encouraging [and] kind, nothing’s too much trouble. I’ve not spoken to anybody that I haven’t felt has been listening or engaging.”

“The Silver Line is lifesaving”

Rachel found the support from The Silver Line invaluable, to say the least.

“It’s lifesaving. When I was on my knees and there hadn’t been anybody else, honestly, I can put my hand on my heart and say I don’t think I’d be here [if I didn’t have The Silver Line Helpline].”

Alongside the emotional support, Rachel found the conversations she had with The Silver Line team members gave her new insight during a really tough time.

“I felt completely alone but I’ve come to the realisation that people do care about me, I just couldn’t see it because I felt in such a muddle.

Support through the toughest times

“Before I got poorly, I was a specialised counsellor for thirteen years and volunteered on a helpline. I’ve been on the other side of it, taking calls from people who were desperate – I know how important these lines are. I hope you can carry on getting the funding you need.

“You’ve been there and supported me through one of the hardest bits of my life. I’m so grateful I really can’t put it into words.”

The Silver Line Helpline is a free, 24-hour confidential telephone support service for older people. We offer older people the chance to have a conversation, access support, and enjoy all the wonderful benefits that come with talking to a trusted friend.

If you’re an older person in the UK, you can call us free on 0800 4 70 80 90 at any time of the day or night.

More from Age UK's Silver Line

How we help

Learn about the people who speak to us on The Silver Line, how we help our callers, and what you can expect from the service.

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


Last updated: Jun 13 2023

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