for Three weeks, Elke Schilling goes past every day at the apartment of her neighbors, and see the Flyer of a delivery service, doesn’t just disappear. With the neighbors you live next door to. Some time ago she had rung him, him offered their assistance, which had rejected the old man gratefully. Now he was nowhere to be found.

Schilling calls the police. The rings. Nothing happens. Because an officer claims that Schilling will have to pay for the damage to the door itself, when no emergency exists, the police back off. The door remains closed, the Flyer hangs.

A week later, crawling bacon beetle and fly through Schilling’s apartment. You contacted the landlord. Your neighbor is finally carried out in a body bag from the apartment. “So something can’t happen,” thinks Elke shilling at that time.

assistance phone silver network starts to Christmas 2017

Four years later, the 73-Year-old sits in a small office in the Berlin district road 12, together with three colleagues, and 16 volunteers in front of a phone. It is the 24. December 2017, On Christmas Eve. On this day, the telephone Hotline silver network for the first Time at the Start. Lonely seniors can call here and with staff trained to entertain.

12 PM is open the line. At 12.01 a.m. the phone rings for the first Time. In eight days of continuous operation 116 discussions are concluded. Most of the callers are over 60, live alone, just want to talk with someone. Acute complaints, Concerns or needs have the least.

Day for the Berlin senior accessible

Meanwhile, the silver net-Hotline is only open on holidays, but every day from 8 am to 20 PM. On 7. February 2019 an employee took the 2000. Call.

anyone Who wants to, gets a solid silver net-friend assigned to the logs once a week at an agreed time. Can call so far, only people with a Berlin landline number or a cell phone. However, the silver network wants to grow, wants to be in the future for people from the whole of Germany, around the clock.

when, exactly “in the future”, don’t know Elke shilling. It goes forward only in small steps. The she has learned in the last few years. When she had the idea to help phone, she was inspired by the British model of the Silver Line, of which you will not abschaute only the name. There is a corresponding telephone-Hotline in 2013 as a pilot project in Manchester, already a year later, the service was available across the country, around the clock. In the first year, approximately 300,000 calls came together.

Difficult Start for the help phone

In Germany, it went so fast. The Problem of loneliness in old Age wanted to take first, no one seriously. “I’m fired in many Places,” recalls Schilling. “Loneliness in old age is in decline in Germany, my project is much too complex and not necessary, it said.”

the mathematician and statistician, had long recognized that large German studies, such as the German age survey painted a false picture: The long-outdated study had only collected data from people up to 80 years. They showed how the population beyond this age limit.

The fight for funding for silver network was debilitating. As before, the 16-member Team rely on donations, through bites and sometimes from month to month.

moments in which she is about to give up, there are, even today, is shilling. Only last week it was once again so far. At the old house in Berlin Pankow, in which the four offices of silver network, in the meantime, will be built. It was not the last power outages, the phone worked intermittently, the toilet was clogged, also the E-Mail Account had been hacked and had sent out 900 false news. FOCUS Online Our real heroes

In the series “Our true heroes” 100 portraits of people in Germany. We will visit you in your Clubs, your place or your neighbourhood and show how they are changing our society for the Better.

All of the already published stories, you can find here.

“Realize that I am at the Limit”

Today, Elke Schilling is 74 years old. She works seven days a week as a volunteer for silver network, often sits up late at night in the office. Outwardly, the woman with the short grey hair happy and satisfied, it glows, it is fit. Inwardly, she feels burned out. “I realize that I’m at the Limit,” she says.

The power necessary to make still further, the meaningfulness of their work and the passion with which your employees come to the office daily. Nevertheless, you want to make this year more and more responsibility, slowly from day-to-day business.

you will Hear an Interview with Elke shilling here in the Well.Maker.Podcast:

App User, please click here to listen to the Podcast

telephonists. of call centers and therapists

coached A clean, bright office room Elke Schilling and the Director for press and public Relations share In the next room sit to write, with little separating the two employees, walls, tables, on the phone. Place is here for four operators. Who works for the silver network Hotline, a training in a call center and is coached in a month, some of the therapists, who offer their support on a voluntary basis.

Who is calling, when, with what Concerns and needs do not know the operators. Every call carries with it a Surprise. Some calls only take a few minutes, some over an hour. Silver network-Elke Schilling in the phone booth in the silver network.

Anonymous phone call provides protection

Silver is considered to contribute “to an older, solitary seniors find their way back to life”, says the Homepage of the Association. But this is actually a phone call? A conversation with an anonymous, faceless Person to combat the loneliness of people sitting, as before, alone in his apartment?

That the contact is not in person but over the phone is taking place, see Elke Schilling as a great advantage of the project. “Offers protection,” she says. Many older people want to leave anyone in your home, as your neighbor, who had rejected their help at the door.

“The apartment is your last retreat, the people there can be as you want,” says shilling. “The anonymity of the silver network many welcome callers. It is great to be able to be with someone completely free of his life, without having to fear that he comes on the Pelle.“ In addition, the caller have to hang up the option at any time and to terminate the contact. In the case of a personal visit was not so easy. Hotline for lonely old people

Old, isolated people to reach the toll-free Hotline of silver network every day from 8 am to 20 PM under the number 0800/4 70 80 90. Currently the offer is only for seniors in Berlin. Possible calls from the Berlin-based landline or from a mobile phone. In the future, the offer will be extended to the whole of Germany. For this purpose, financial resources and personnel are missing currently.

Any advice to distribute, easy listening

The operators inform their callers about services for seniors in the vicinity, give tips, to go to which events or regular Meetings you might be able to establish contact to other people. The caller need to Talk, or Worry, to listen to you. Wise advice is not to be distributed, because that’ll help a little, says shilling.

Instead, it is rich to not know many of the callers that they are alone with their problems. If you are reports of disputes with their children and grandchildren, tells of Elke shilling, sometimes from their own experiences – as the youngest of six children, as a mother of two daughters, as a grandmother of five grandchildren.

For which you want to have in the future more time. But even if you withdrew at some point completely out of your daily business, it is certainly now and again at the silver net-phone and sit with lonely people to talk to.

It had always fascinated her, which close through the Medium of telephone was not possible. And how much could be in conversation with others, learn about yourself. “You see yourself as in a mirror,” she says. “This is the real richness of this work.” So you can> help

in addition, you can be a silver network-friend and once-per-week with “their” personal lonely people on the phone. They listen, ask and share insightful experiences. You can find more information here.

In the FOCUS Online After his daughter died, founded the Frank Pape, a house of hope