Worrying figures revealed in Gransnet survey as the Jo Cox Commission on Loneliness launches its spotlight on older people month.
- More than half of users of the social networking site say they do not talk about their loneliness with friends and family
- Older people have a higher risk of feeling lonely, which is most often caused by poor health or bereavement
- Jo Cox Commission on Loneliness is placing a spotlight on older people throughout the next month, urging people to take action against chronic isolation in later life.
Most lonely Gransnet users will not talk to friends and family
The social networking site Gransnet surveyed over-50s who described themselves as lonely. The vast majority of those who had not discussed their loneliness said close friends and family would be surprised or even astonished to hear that they feel this way.
Revealing how loneliness doesn’t only affect those who are alone, 93% of survey respondents admitted it’s possible to feel lonely even when you have a partner or family. Gransnet provides an opportunity to discuss anonymously, with 82% of users agreeing that talking about feelings of loneliness is much easier online when they are unidentified.
Why older people are often affected by loneliness
While loneliness can strike at any age, older people are at a higher risk.
Poor health, disabilities and the death of a loved one often leave older people cut off from society, with little or no opportunities for social interaction with family and friends.
The closure of local services is also having a devastating impact for older people who rely on them for social contact. With bank branches, post offices, small shops and libraries closing, particularly in rural areas, this can worsen their feelings of being forgotten and lonely.
Commission to shine spotlight on older people
The Jo Cox Commission on Loneliness launched earlier this year in Parliament. MPs Rachel Reeves and Seema Kennedy are continuing the work of the late MP Jo Cox who was passionate about tacking the issue.
Throughout 2017, the Commission will focus on loneliness as it affects different members of society including older people, men, people with disabilities, carers, refugees, children and parents. The spotlight on older people will be from Monday 20th March – 23rd April 2017.
Age UK, alongside Alzheimer’s Society, British Red Cross, Campaign to End Loneliness, Eden Project Communities, Gransnet, Independent Age, Royal Voluntary Service and The Silver Line – are working collaboratively during this period to raise public awareness of loneliness and encourage everyone to act to tackle it.
Find out more about the Commission and pledge to start a conversation with an older person who may be lonely.
Join the conversation on Twitter with #HappytoChat