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Answer the call for Let’s 5 Loneliness

It’s never been more important to reach out and through picking up the phone, you can answer the call to help tackle loneliness

Finding ways to connect and tackle loneliness head-on is crucial right now.

In the current climate, social isolation is causing loneliness for millions of people and as part of the Be Someone For Someone ‘Let’s Five Loneliness’ campaign, we’re encouraging people to be there for others in 5 simple ways, starting with making a daily 5-minute call.

Connections matter, and strong ties with family, friends and our communities provides people with happiness, security, support and a sense of purpose. Research carried out for the All the Lonely People report found that in any given year, one in 10 people will experience a period of loneliness, and as we get older, the risk factors for experiencing loneliness increase.

As simple as a phone call?

Add in the unprecedented wave of loneliness caused through self-isolation and these numbers are climbing, with calls to support services such as Beyond Blue and Lifeline only increasing.

In rising numbers, Lifeline recorded on average 3000 calls per day in March, with 23% of calls relating to the current climate. This shows people are reaching for the phone.

These numbers also tell us we should be super vigilant about the state of mind of people in our network who might be feeling cut off, as well as our own. Meaningful contact by making time for a five-minute phone call each day to someone in your network can really make a difference, to them and to you.

There are so many more benefits to be gained through a call. While in our busy rushed lives we generally rely on texting as our preferred option for communication, it’s unsatisfactory for the connections we need right now. Hearing someone’s tone and emotion in their voice helps you pick up how they’re really feeling. That can’t be experienced through a message.

Through picking up the phone, you can show at least one person you care and brighten their day while making truly meaningful connections.

“There is no substitute for hearing (and sharing) a friendly voice,” said head of Be Someone For Someone, Jo Winwood.

“With busy lives most of us have resorted to text messaging which is short and to the point. You don’t get to hear the subtleties in someone’s voice and to find out how they really are.

There’s nothing satisfying about an SMS, but it feels great to have a proper chat with someone. How often do we say, “why did we leave it so long?”

Getting on the front foot and not waiting for others to contact you is so important, and one group not waiting is Feros Care’s Wellness Outbound Team.

Connecting with over 80 seniors a day to make sure they’re receiving the support they need, team head Fabiana De Farias said it was the basic act of reaching out which had resonated with the community most.

“Our initial calls are to check in with people and check their support networks to see if people have the help they need with essentials like shopping, transport, cleaning and things they might not be able to do,” Fabiana said.

“But people are just so grateful for the call and having someone take the time to have a chat with them and show they care.”

Fabiana said the team’s aim to make connections had seen people take up offers to add ongoing wellness calls to their routines, just to touch base and have a chat

“We’re hearing comments like ‘you’ve made our day’, so it’s really making a difference and people are just so appreciative,” she said.

Routine matters.

Fabiana recommended adding making a call to your daily routine, as routines are crucial for us to stay grounded when everything is turned upside down.

So, setting aside regular phone call time each day helps give a sense of purpose and ritual. Setting up a roster with other family and friends to make sure someone is regularly checking in means you can pick issues up early, before they have a chance to cause long-term problems

Everyone in Feros Care is focussing on three R’s to help us through these times; ritual, routine and restore. So, make a routine phone call part of your day and you too will wonder why you left it so long.

For more on our Let's 5 Loneliness campaign and tips on how you can Be Someone For Someone and get involved, click here.