Over 1 million older people in the UK feel lonely
Published on 03 May 2014 12:01 AM
Over a million older people in the UK regularly feel lonely
As figure increases Age UK calls for vital donations to help fight loneliness
A new Age UK survey has found that over one million people aged 65 plus in the UK describe themselves as always or often feeling lonely[i], up on last year[ii], and two in five (41%) say that their TV or pet is now their main form of company[iii].
The Charity is calling for donations to help fight loneliness through its vital national and local services.
Loneliness is a huge issue that affects people all year round with nearly a third (30%) of older people saying they would like to go out more often[iv].
Age UK's research also reveals that one in eight people (12%) aged 65 plus are feeling cut off from society[v].
Loneliness can be seriously damaging and recent studies have shown it has double the impact of obesity and that feeling extreme loneliness can increase an older person's chances of premature death by 14 per cent[vi].
Caroline Abrahams, Charity Director at Age UK, said: 'At Age UK we know how devastating loneliness can be for older people and these figures are another reminder of the scale of this issue.
'Loneliness not only makes life miserable for older people it is also really bad for their health making them more vulnerable to illness and disease.
'It is time to take loneliness seriously and that's why we're asking everyone to take action by donating today to help us carry on supporting older people to make the most out of later life.
'Voluntary sector services like Age UK's have never been more important because funding cuts are forcing many of the local services that help older people stay connected, such as lunch clubs, to scale down or close.'
Actress Lynda Bellingham said: 'As we begin to think about enjoying warmer weather and longer days, many older people are trapped indoors feeling very isolated and alone.
'Loneliness is a very real problem for too many people and that's why I'm backing Age UK's vital work in fighting this issue.'
Age UK is helping to tackle loneliness by supporting a range of services such as befriending which might include home visits and telephone calls for people who are feeling lonely or isolated.
This offers company, reassurance and a vital link to the outside world, often acting as a gateway for other services and valuable support.
Many local Age UKs also provide other social activities such as lunch clubs and day centre activities including exercise classes, coffee mornings, as well as volunteering opportunities which play a crucial part in preventing loneliness and helping make later life better.
Regular contact from other local Age UK services can be life-changing and give older people the confidence they need to feel more connected and less isolated.
To help Age UK end loneliness people can donate today by calling 0800 169 8787 or texting HELLO to 70004 to donate £3 and help make later life better. Alternatively people can go to www.ageuk.org.uk/get-involved/loneliness.
Older people and their families can get in touch with Age UK to see how the Charity could help someone who may be feeling lonely by calling Age UK Advice for free on 0800 169 65 65.
Notes to Editors
Age UK research
The research results are from the TNS Loneliness Omnibus Survey for Age UK (April 2014). 2,098 people aged 65 or over in the United Kingdom were interviewed between 28/03/14-13/04/14.
We work with our national partners, Age Scotland, Age Cymru and Age NI and our local Age UK partners in England (together the Age UK Family). We also work internationally for people in later life as a member of the DEC and with our sister charity Help Age International.
Age UK believes that everyone should have the opportunity to make the most of later life, whatever their circumstances. We provide free information, advice and support to over six million people; commercial products and services to over one million customers; and research and campaign on the issues that matter to people in later life. Our work focuses on five key areas: money matters, health and well being, home and care, work and training and leisure and lifestyle.
Age UK is a charitable company limited by guarantee and registered in England (registered charity number 1128267 and company number 6825798). Age Concern England and Help the Aged (both registered charities), and their trading and other associated companies merged on the 1st April 2009. Together they have formed the Age UK Group ("we"). Charitable services are offered through Age UK and commercial products are offered by the Charity's trading companies, which donate their net profits to Age UK (the Charity).