Loneliness Awareness Week: Age Scotland launches Time To Talk Tea Party to tackle social isolation and loneliness

Age Scotland has launched its ‘Time To Talk Tea Party’ to help fight against social isolation and the impact hearing loss can have on loneliness in the community.

To honour Loneliness Awareness Week, Age Scotland’s Time To Talk Tea Party, which is sponsored by Specsavers’ new Home Visits audiology service in Edinburgh, the Lothians, Borders and Lanark, is encouraging people to make time to have a chat with older friends, relatives and neighbours.

Loneliness Awareness Week is dedicated to looking into what causes loneliness and how it affects our mental health. Age Scotland’s Time to Talk Tea Party campaign is encouraging Scots to hold a tea party, to raise funds for the charity and awareness of social isolation.

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Lynne Phillips, audiologist and director of the Specsavers Home Visits service in Edinburgh, said: “This partnership was a fantastic opportunity, not only to raise awareness of social isolation, but the impact hearing loss can have in amplifying social isolation, particularly for people who already find it difficult to leave their homes unaccompanied.

Brian Sloan, chief executive, Age Scotland.

“On average it takes someone 10 years to get their hearing checked from when they first experience problems, but looking after your hearing is vital. It is one of the main ways we can communicate with others – not just in person but on the phone or through video calls too.

“If you add mobility issues to the mix, there are potentially lots of people across Edinburgh, the Lothians, Borders and Lanark who could really benefit from this new service and help them to feel more connected to the world again.

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“Age Scotland’s Time to Talk Tea Party campaign highlights a really important message: to make the time for older friends, relatives and neighbours to have a chat and help to ensure they don’t feel alone. We were delighted to support the charity in raising awareness of social isolation and with Loneliness Awareness Week taking place, it’s the perfect time to remind people to look out for their loved ones and friends.”

Specsavers’ Home Visits has delivered free eye tests in the area for people within the comfort of their own homes since 2015, however this new service allows free hearing tests conducted by a fully qualified audiologist – and Scotland is the first Home Visits location in the UK to offer this free service. All customers that require Specsavers’ new and improved services from home will also receive a large choice of great value products, such as hearing aids starting from £495.

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Brian Sloan, chief executive at Age Scotland, added: “It has been fantastic to have the support and sponsorship of Specsavers for our Time To Talk tea parties. There is at least one older person on every street in Scotland who is lonely all or most of the time, and the pandemic has caused more than half of over 50s in Scotland to feel lonelier.

“It has such a huge impact on a person’s health, and hearing loss can be a significant trigger to becoming lonely and isolated. Having your hearing checked is so important, especially as you get older, so this new service will no doubt be a huge help to many.”

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Age Scotland’s friendship line encourages those in the older community struggling with loneliness to call for free on 0800 12 44 222. Lines are open from Monday to Friday between 9am and 5pm.