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Age Cymru marks loneliness awareness week with a story of how one older man keeps connected to the world

Published on 10 June 2024 11:12 AM

Loneliness Awareness Week 10 -16 June 2024


Sadly, loneliness is widespread amongst older people in Wales.  Our research found that more than: 

  • 75,000 older people say the TV or their pet was their main companion
  • 100,000 older people speak to three or fewer people each week
  • 330,000 older people in Wales say a few minutes of conversation would make a huge difference to their week

The causes of loneliness can be complex.  For some it may be the result of their loved ones having passed away, others may have become housebound due to ill health, or perhaps their family and friends have moved away.  

However, it has been made worse by issues way beyond our individual control. Access to health care is becoming increasingly difficult, meaning that some older people find it difficult to leave their homes due to unnecessary deterioration in their health.  

Cuts to public bus services have further reduced opportunities for older people to access their communities. While the cost-of-living crisis has forced many older people to cut back on social activities as they try to budget on low fixed incomes. 

The pandemic has also left its mark as many have lost their confidence to re-integrate into their communities.  

However, there is something we can all do to help reduce loneliness. Age Cymru runs the Friend in Need service that pairs older people who live alone with a volunteer who calls them for a weekly chat. 

Des’ story 

Des is 83 and lives alone in Caerphilly County Borough.  He has severe sight issues but is hopeful that recent treatment at the Royal Gwent Hospital in Newport will restore some sight in his one eye so he will be able to see colours once again. 

Even though he lives alone, Des says he never feels lonely because of the care he receives from his two daughters plus the weekly friendship call he receives from his Friend in Need telephone companion Remo, who calls him to put the world to rights. 

Remo has been calling Des for several years and never misses a call – even when he’s on holiday.  Des says he particularly likes the calls from abroad as they give him a window to the world.  A world he can never visit because of his poor eyesight. 

Des says the calls not only provide stimulating conversation, but they also help him to retain his ability to talk.  If you don’t talk to someone on a regular basis you can dry up during conversations. 

Des, a veteran of the the Queen’s Dragoon Guards (Welsh Calvery), is particularly looking forward to listening to the coverage of the D-day commemorations and sharing his thoughts with Remo on their next call. 

Could you help someone like Des stay in touch with the world with a weekly friendship call?  If so call 0300 303 4498, email or visit   

And if you can’t volunteer, why not make a donation so we can reach out to more people like Des? £15 will support friendship calls to two older people every week: Visit




Last updated: Jun 10 2024

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