Bucharest, May 10, 2018 – The Elderly Phone Line, the first free of charge and confidential telephone line dedicated to people over 65, registered a record number of calls in April, when more than 1,200 telephone conversations were initiated by 450 people who called this dedicated phone number. Since the launch of the helpline for the elderly, the specialized operators have managed over 21,000 phone interactions.
The Elderly Telephone Service, launched in October 2015, is a project implemented by the Princess Margareta of Romania Foundation and supported, ever since its launch, by the Vodafone Romania Foundation with a grant ecxeeding 100,000 euros allocated through the „Connecting for Good” program.
The record number of elderly phone line interactions registered in April was reached as a result of an ample national communication campaign, designed to make this service known to as many elderly as possible. The campaign covered the broadcasting of a radio ad, the distribution of information leaflets and the display of posters on board public transport vehicles and in magazines of interest for this age group.
Elderly Phone Line (0800 460 001) can be called free of charge from Monday to Friday, between 08.00 to 20.00, and on Saturdays, between 08.00 to 16.00. The callers are provided with useful information, advice or emotional support and are guided by Princess Margareta Foundation of Romania operators, specialized in social care, on how to solve various problems. The line can also be used to report an abuse or a difficult situation an elderly person is confronted with.
Romania ranks second, according to the European statistics, in terms of accelerated population aging rate, with elderly people accounting for 17% of the total population structure. In addition to financial constraints and health problems, this category of people faces two major challenges: the limited access to information and the loneliness. The surveys conducted by the Princess Margareta Foundation of Romania over the last three years show that about 1.5 million elderly people in Romania are suffering from loneliness to a lesser or greater extent. There are significantly more lonely old women than old men and the elderly living in urban areas are the most affected by loneliness.
Since the launch of this dedicated help line and until present, the elderly in Romania have benefited from about 5,000 hours of phone support, information and social counseling. Princess Margareta Foundation’s social assistance operators have provided callers with practical advice and socializing support and have referred them to institutions in the local communities, which are competent to solve problems reported by the elderly. Currently, the Elderly Phone Redial Service is used by over 430 old people who feel the need to talk to someone and the line operators call them back regularly.
Out of the approximately 4,000 beneficiaries of the helpline, 32% live in the countryside or in small towns, 32% in cities and 34% live in Bucharest. Their age varies, many of them belonging to the 70-80 year old age group (27%). Half of the callers live alone. A total of 47% of the callers to the helpline 0800 460 001 asked for information, 21% were interested in receiving home care services and 15% sought emotional support and socializing. The main barriers encountered by elderly people to accessing information are isolation, social discrimination, intensive migration of young families in recent years and the difficulties the elderly have in adapting to modern means of communication.
Soon after its launch in 2015, the Elderly Phone Line, financed by Vodafone Romania Foundation under its „Connecting for Good” program, was declared the best Social Assistance Project in Romania and won the Most Original Project Prize at the 2016 edition of the Civil Society Gala.
The Vodafone Romania Foundation is a Romanian non-governmental charitable organization, established in 1998, which operates separately and independently from the Vodafone Romania SA’s business. During its 20 years of activity, Vodafone Romania Foundation has funded 1,104 programs run by 706 NGOs throughout the country, in the fields of healthcare, education and social services. These projects had a total of 2.7 million beneficiaries – children, young and old people and physically, socially or economically disadvantaged people. So far, Vodafone Romania has invested over 28 million euros in projects run by nonprofit partner organizations. More details about the Foundation’s programs are available at www.Fundația-vodafone.ro, http://jurnaldebine.Fundația-vodafone.ro/ și www.facebook.com/Fundațiavodafone..
Princess Margareta of Romania Foundation was founded in 1990 by Her Majesty Margareta, the Custodian of the Romanian Crown, and her father, King Michael. Over its 28 years of activity, the Foundation has developed many sustainable projects in the field of education, community development, civil society, health and culture, which have all contributed to the spiritual and social revival of Romania. The Princess Margareta of Romania Foundation is today an elite non-governmental organization that supports children, young people and the elderly through sustainable interventions, based on the sharing of experience and values between generations. For more details about the Foundation, please visit www.telefonulvarstnicului.ro, firstname.lastname@example.org, www.facebook.com/TelefonulVarstnicului or call 0799.724.233.