Call in Time
We have a problem. In the UK over 1.2 million older people are chronically lonely. Many go for weeks or even months without speaking to someone they know. This sense of isolation can lead to health problems such as depression and dementia as well as decreased mobility.
This growing issue led to many conversations between ZCT and Age UK who, in 2005, launched Call in Time - a national telephone befriending service matching corporate volunteers with some of the most isolated and lonely older people in our communities for a regular friendly chat.
A simple enough idea, you may say, but since those early days, Call in Time has grown from strength to strength! For our older phone friends, it's not just a call - it's a lifeline - and is now an integral part of Age UK's offering to older people. We continue to support the programme as a member, along with a host of other companies.
One does not grow old by living, only by losing interest in living, which is where you found me! Thank you.
An older phone friend
The difference made
Research has shown just how important a regular phone call - even if for just twenty minutes once a week - is to isolated older people. It was revealed the service was highly valued by older people and had a measurable, positive impact on their physical and mental health, providing them with a long-term benefit.
In addition to being a founder partner and providing long-term funding over the years, we’ve also actively encouraged our colleagues in Zurich UK to pick up the phone and become a phone friend for an older person. We're proud to say that at any one time there are around 75-80 active Zurich phone friends who take 20 minutes or so out of their busy weeks, every week, to make that all-important call.
One of those volunteers is Alison who regular calls her older friend, Margaret. Take a look at our video on the right to meet them both!
Today and tomorrow
Thanks to the success of Call in Time, we’ve been able to help Age UK reach so many older people who might otherwise go a whole week without a conversation.
Call in Time is now an integral part of Age UK's offering to older people and continues to expand - a total of 14 companies are now corporate members on the programme and, through them, 446 volunteers are now active callers. Zurich is also proud to be one of these companies.
A recent development has been the successful roll-out of Call in Time to the general public, with over 400 people now signed up to the scheme. It all adds up to fewer older people facing long days of isolation.