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1.2 million older people are still chronically lonely – extend the hand of friendship this summer

Published on 05 August 2017 11:01 PM

Age UK is marking National Friendship Day on Sunday 6 August by asking people to reach out to the millions of older people who are chronically lonely.

New initiatives haven't affected loneliness levels

In recent years, loneliness has made headlines more often. National initiatives such as the Jo Cox Commission have been set up to raise awareness of the problem and help people to understand what they can do to help.

However, new Government figures show that the proportion of adults feeling often or always lonely remains unchanged in recent years. Age UK's own research shows that this is a widespread, national issue affecting millions of people:

  • 1.2 million older people in England are chronically lonely
  • 200,000 older people have not had a conversation with friends or family for an entire month.

The benefits of friendships between young and old

For older people who are feeling lonely and young people alike, there is a lot of research which suggests that intergenerational friendships can be very beneficial.

Yet in the UK these friendships aren't very common - only 46% of people aged 16-24 say they talk to their neighbours, compared to 87% of those aged 65-74.

'A friendly community benefits everyone and makes a place much nicer to live and work in for people of all ages,' explained Charity Director of Age UK, Caroline Abrahams. 

'The simple act of stopping for a quick chat can brighten up an older person's day, particularly if that's the only conversation they're likely to have, so please don't be shy, smile and say hello and chances are you'll both feel better for it.'

Reach out this Friendship Day

Longer days and lighter evenings make summer the perfect time to get to know older neighbours who could be feeling lonely.

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Last updated: Dec 05 2018

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