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You're not alone

If you're feeling lonely, remember you're not alone. Feeling lonely doesn’t necessarily mean you have no one nearby. You can be surrounded by friends and family but still feel lonely.


What can cause loneliness?

There are different reasons why you might be feeling lonely – perhaps you’ve lost a loved one, moved away from friends and family, lost the social contact and enjoyment you used to get from work, or have health problems that make it difficult for you to go out and do the things you enjoy. There also might not be any clear reason at all to explain how you’re feeling, and that’s fine too.

Although it’s hard, it’s a good idea to think about what is making you lonely. It might help you try and find a way of feeling better.

If you're feeling lonely, remember you're not alone. That feeling of loneliness can hit us at any time in life, often unexpectedly, even if it seems as though we're surrounded by friends and family. Whatever might be making you feel lonely, we are here to help.


How can I find someone to speak to?

Talking to people is a great way to relive old memories and remind you of all the positive things in your life.

When you feel lonely it can be tempting to think nobody would want to hear from you. But often you'll find people do want to help. If there are people around you who you can talk to, it can be a good idea to talk about your feelings. This might seem like a difficult conversation to have, but actually talking is often the best way to start feeling better. Talking to someone you know could let them try and help you, while they may not necessarily have the answer it can make you feel listened to and often outside perspectives can really help.

Have a chat with a volunteer

Or you could take advantage of services that tackle loneliness. If you like having a chat there are a number of services that could match you with someone to talk to, including:

  • Age UK runs a telephone befriending service, Call in Time, which allows you to sign up for a free weekly friendship call. It can be a great way to speak to someone new. 
  • Silverline also offers weekly calls to people age 55 and over. This is a free service for people looking to have a chat with a freidnly and supportive volunteer.
  • Many local age UKs offer face-to-face befriending services. These often involve a volunteer visting someone at home for a cup of tea and a chat.

 

Rose and Sarah's story

Friends Rose and Sarah share their experience with the Age UK Befriending programme. Rose wanted a friend and Sarah wanted to volunteer.


How can I make new connections?

Spending time with other people can prevent you from feeling lonely or anxious and give you a chance to share experiences, thoughts and ideas.

  • 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.
  • You might want to be around people you have more in common with. Contact your local Age UK to find out what social activities they offer. They often have unique clubs and classes you can take part in. These can be great to maintian social connections but also are a great way to learn a new skill or revisit an old hobby. 
  • 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.

What should I do if I'm worried about my mental health?

Loneliness can have a significant impact on our mental wellbeing. Being lonely can often lead to you feeling worried, low, out of sorts, or just struggling to work up the energy to do things you used to. These are signs you're not feeling as well as you could be. Talking is often the best way to start feeling better. That could be with a family member, your doctor or nurse – whoever you feel comfortable with.

If you speak to your doctor or nurse, they might be able to suggest things you can do to help. Understandably, the idea of talking to someone can be daunting for some, and for others it’s just not in their nature to talk about their feelings. But ignoring it doesn’t make it go away, it’s likely to only make it worse in the long-term. Maybe now is the time to take that first step to helping yourself feel better.

For more information on looking after your mental health see our page Your mind matters

If you're feeling lonely, contact your local Age UK for help and support.

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For more information call the Age UK Advice Line on 0800 678 1602.
We’re open 8am to 7pm, every day of the year.

How can Age UK help me

There are over 130 local Age UKs throughout England. Together, we provide a wide range of services to help people in later life. If you're feeling lonely, contact your local Age UK to find out more about the services they offer.

 

Last updated: Feb 20 2020

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