Loneliness is a highly personal experience, often triggered by a unique set of circumstances or feelings – and this makes it pretty difficult to identify and measure. But according to a recent survey by Age UK, 10 per cent of adults aged over 65 feel lonely often or all of the time. With our growing older population this means that over 1 million older people are feeling chronically lonely today. This survey mirrors older research into the levels of loneliness in the United Kingdom and, worryingly, it seems to be getting worse.
This survey also found that:
- Just over one in ten older people said they felt cut off from society
- Almost a third of respondents said they would like to go out more often
- Two in five (41%) older people surveyed said that their TV or pet is now “their main form of company”
During the past few months the Campaign to End Loneliness has been highlighting some of the fantastic progress that is being made to address loneliness. We have been really pleased to see so many local authorities and organisations taking a greater interest in supporting lonely people. But we must not forget the size of the problem, nor how much more there still to do. A million people are chronically lonely – and this is turn is putting them at risk of for it with poor health and a lower quality of life. There is still much more work for us and for you.
What can you do?
The good news is that there are many ways to get involved and do something to address loneliness in older age. If you have a few spare hours a week, why not think about volunteering with one of the Campaign’s partner organisations?
You can also help us to raise awareness of the health risks of loneliness with those responsible for funding the health and care services that can make a difference. Check out the Loneliness Harms Health campaign – and if you live in the North West, come to our new regional summit.
If you work for an organisation that supports older people, make sure you’re aware of the latest research, evidence and good practice case studies from our Learning Network. If you’ve got a good idea or have a top-tip for tackling loneliness, share it with us!
And finally, meet likeminded people! We regularly hold events – around the country – for people interested in addressing loneliness. You might want to campaign, learn from the latest research or learn more about what works to tackle loneliness. We’ll probably have something for you. Keep an eye on our homepage for the latest events.