‘Smile’ postcards help the elderly stay connected
With loneliness on the increase, Specsavers has partnered with the Royal Voluntary Service to help older people to stay connected.
New research from Age UK shows that two million elderly people expect to feel lonely during Christmas1. So, to give people something to smile about, Specsavers has sent more than 85,000 uplifting postcards to people who are unable to leave their homes.
Sam Ward, Director of Services and Deputy CEO of Royal Voluntary Service says: ‘At home consultations are set to be the norm for the near future, so services like this are essential. With older people likely to feel more isolated than ever as winter sets in, it’s vital that we do all that we can to help them feel connected.’
The card front was designed by Lois and Romy Hopkins (image right) , eight-year-old twins, from Chesterfield in Derbyshire, who entered a Specsavers’ Facebook competition. Romy says: ‘I had great fun designing the card with my sister. It’s so exciting to know that it’s being sent out to people who may not have been able to see their families and friends as much this year.’
‘We can’t wait to see our postcard come to life,’ says her sister Lois. ‘We’re so pleased we can help spread a few smiles.’
The card also includes useful contact details for Royal Voluntary Service, as well as a reminder that Specsavers home-visiting opticians are available as usual even under the current restrictions.
Mel Roberts director of Specsavers Home Visits says: ‘During the first lockdown when we were unable to operate as usual, we made a point of calling as many of our housebound customers as possible and so are very aware of just how isolating the pandemic is for some people. These postcards are a small way of connecting with our elderly customers and letting them know that support is out there. It’s so heart-warming to hear that someone has kept the card next to their phone, or it’s on the mantelpiece and they say that they smile whenever they look at it’.
‘We want to reassure people that it is safe to book an at-home eye test. Our visiting colleagues follow stringent measures to keep everyone safe. We encourage anyone with concerns to give our home visit team a call.
Even if a customer is not comfortable with someone coming into their home we can offer care and advice remotely.’