Taking Time To Listen

An elderly woman calls her country’s emergency hotline. Her 95-year-old husband is suffering from “complications”, she informs the operator.

But when police show up on her doorstep, they discover the man was not in need of medical attention at all. The couple was just so lonely they fabricated the story out of desperation for someone to talk to. So the cops did what anybody with a heart and a pulse would do; they sat with the couple “for a brew and a chat“.

This true story out of the UK is a bittersweet tale that betrays a widespread but largely hidden social tragedy; we are failing our elderly.

A 2013 survey by Australian community care franchise Just Better Care found that loneliness and social isolation was the primary concern of elderly people living at home, eclipsing financial worries, lack of independence, and loss of mobility.

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