Camilla warns older generation facing ‘blight of loneliness’

The Duchess of Cornwall has urged people to tackle the "blight of loneliness" in older people, which has significantly worsened because of lockdown.

In a video message in support of Silver Sunday – the national day for older people – which takes place on October 4, Camilla called on the nation to ring a grandparent, send a card to an elderly relative or host a virtual event to break the silence many face.

The duchess warned that more than a million older people can go for over a month without speaking to a friend, neighbour or family member.

Camilla, who is patron of a number of charities which support the elderly including the Royal Voluntary Service and The Silver Line, said Silver Sunday was more important than ever this year amid the ongoing fight against the coronavirus pandemic.

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"Since 2012, the first Sunday of October has been Silver Sunday, the national day for older people," the duchess said.

"It is a day that offers us all the opportunity to focus on older people's contributions to our communities and to our society."

She added: "This year will of course be very different, with most events taking place virtually, rather than in the flesh.

"So Silver Sunday is more important than ever.

"Its aim is to tackle the blight of loneliness that affects so many, and which, very sadly, has increased significantly over the recent months of lockdown.

"More than a million older people say they go for over a month without speaking to a friend, neighbour or family member.

"Silver Sunday is the perfect moment to break the silence in which many live, perhaps with a telephone call to a grandparent, a card to an elderly neighbour or by hosting your very own virtual event."

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The Silver Sunday nationwide campaign is supported by hundreds of organisations across the UK which offer free activities for older people suffering from loneliness and isolation to help them socialise, get active and learn something new.

Camilla, 73, added: "As a member of Silver Sunday's target audience, I can honestly say that it is a completely brilliant initiative."

This year, it will focus on virtual events and socially distanced outdoor activities to protect older recipients who are particularly vulnerable to the Covid-19 illness.

Plans include a chair dance challenge, an all-day danceathon, a Cantonese opera workshop, as well as outdoor museum tours, walking groups and boat trips.

Information on Silver Sunday 2020 activities can be found at https://silversunday.org.uk/.