Feeling lonely doesn’t necessarily mean you have no one nearby. You may be surrounded by friends and family but still feel lonely.
Loneliness is a deeply personal experience - unique to every individual. It can have different causes and different consequences for each and every one of us.
You may be lonely for a number of reasons:
No one should have no one and yet 1.4 million older people feel cut off from society. It's important to know that you're not alone.
Over recent years we've gained a greater understanding of the impact loneliness has on our health.
We now know that, for example, the effect of loneliness and isolation can be as harmful to our health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day, and is more damaging than obesity.
It is associated with depression, sleep problems, impaired cognitive health, heightened vascular resistance, hypertension, psychological stress and mental health problems.
There are a number of things you can do to tackle loneliness:
You might want to consider joining a friendship group. This can be a good way to build new and meaningful friendships, and help you to regain your confidence.
Contact the Elderly hold monthly afternoon tea parties for people aged over 75 who live on their own with little or no chance to socialise.
If you're missing the social connections you used to have through work, you could also consider volunteering or perhaps going to classes through The University of the Third Age.
For more information call Age UK on 0800 055 6112