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How to overcome loneliness

If you feel like you’re on your own, take a read through this page. We’ve put it together to help you break through the barriers created by loneliness.


Do you feel lonely?

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:

  • 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
  • have health problems that make it difficult for you to go out and do the things you enjoy.

You're not alone

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.

Why it’s important to address loneliness

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.


What you can do

There are a number of things you can do to tackle loneliness:

Take advantage of services that tackle loneliness

If you like having a chat but find it hard to get out, you could speak to like-minded folk on Gransnet.

If you have sight loss, you can join RNIB’s telephone book club and talk to up to eight people on a monthly call for a small cost.

Age UK's befriending services can connect you with a volunteer who can visit your home or give you a regular call.

Take steps to make new connections

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.

All Age UKs provide services to combat loneliness. If you're feeling lonely, contact us for help and support.

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For more information call Age UK on 0800 055 6112

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