Cutbacks 'could isolate older people'

Source : Age Cymru
Published on 25 February 2014 08:30 AM

Welsh local authorities will create previously unseen levels of isolation and loneliness if they cut back on services that older people rely on.

That’s the warning today from Age Cymru.

It comes as the charity releases figures about loneliness and older people in Wales, which show:

• 41,000 people in Wales aged 65 and over say that they often or always feel lonely (7%)*;
• 146,000 people in Wales aged 65 and over feel lonely at least sometimes (25%)*;
• 64% of people in Wales are concerned about suffering from loneliness as they get older**;

Commenting on the figures, Ian Thomas, Age Cymru‘s Chief Executive says:

“None of us want to imagine that we - or any of our family members or loved ones, will end up being lonely or feeling cut-off from society when we’re older.

“But unfortunately, as these figures show, this is the reality of life for tens of thousands of older people across Wales today.”

Age Cymru says cuts to local authority services such as day centres, public toilets and public transport risk creating even higher levels of isolation and loneliness among older people in the future.

Ian Thomas explains:

“With our ageing population, it is vital that we are able to provide services that meet the needs of older people - both today and in the future.

“These are difficult economic times – everyone accepts that, and we realise that local authorities are in the difficult position of having to make savings.

“We are concerned that, as a result, many services that older people rely on such as day centres, public toilets and buses - will be lost across Wales.

“This will leave even more older people feeling lonely and isolated and, with recent research indicating that being lonely can be more dangerous for your health than obesity, we’ll be storing up even greater demand upon our health and social services in the future.”

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