Scottish comedian and broadcaster Fred MacAulay has given his backing to Age Scotland’s latest fundraising challenge and is asking you all to Haud Yer Wheesht!
Individuals, families, businesses and organisations can be sponsored to switch off their phones, stay away from social media, hold a silent disco or simply sit in silence.
The challenge is fun but is designed to highlight the unwelcome silence that so many older people in Scotland live with every day.
Recent Age Scotland figures show that more than 200,000 older people can go up to half a week without talking to anyone.
The situation has grown significantly worse during the coronavirus pandemic.
Brian Sloan, Age Scotland’s chief executive, said: “For most of us, the prospect of some peace and quiet might sound like a welcome break from the daily chatter.
“But take a moment to think about what it feels like to know that the silence won’t be broken with a phone call or a knock on the door.
“That is the sad reality for more than 200,000 older people in Scotland who can go up to half a week without hearing from or speaking to anyone.
“We believe that figure will be even higher now for older people who have been shielding and endured four months unable to get out and about or see family and friends.
“The severe effects of prolonged loneliness on older people’s health include greater risk of heart disease, high bloody pressure, depression and developing dementia.
“So will you Haud Yer Wheesht to raise funds?”
The Big Wheesht will raise money for the charity’s free national friendship line, which offers older people a friendly listening ear.
The more money raised, the more friendship calls the service will be able to offer.
Fred MacAulay said: “It is heartbreaking to think that so many older people in Scotland can go days on end without speaking to anyone.
“The Big Wheesht is a chance for us all to experience what it feels like to be surrounded by silence.
“More importantly it is an opportunity to raise money for the charity’s friendship line, which plays a vital role in the lives of older people who desperately want to hear a friendly voice.”
To register or for more information, visit www.age.scot/bigewheesht.