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2.9m older people feel they have no one

Published on 16 January 2015 12:01 AM

2.9 million older people feel they have no one to turn to for help and support

A new Age UK survey* reveals that one in four (2.9 million) [1] people aged 65 and over feel they have no one to go to for help and support. Of these, 39% said they felt lonely and one in five (21 per cent) said they felt forgotten as a result of this. In addition, half of younger people aged 25-44 admitted that they have worried about being alone in later life.

The research shows just how crucial having someone to turn to is if we're to be happy and fulfilled in our lives. For those aged 65 and over, being able to talk and laugh with someone is the most important thing of all (81 per cent) [2], with more than half (57%) saying  physical contact has made them happy. Nearly two thirds (62%) of all UK adults said this for having someone to eat with and two thirds (67%) said that feeling that they are part of other people's lives makes them happy.

The findings come as Age UK prepares to launch ‘No one should have no one' on Monday 19th January, in order to raise awareness about the millions of older people who are facing later life alone. Age UK is calling for donations to enable it to continue the vital work of providing companionship, support and advice.

Caroline Abrahams, Charity Director at Age UK, said: 'We all face ups and downs and our survey shows that sadly, millions of older people could be doing so almost entirely alone. This means they have no one close with whom to share the good times, or to go to for support when life is tough or for trusted advice to help solve a nagging problem. That's why we're asking the public to donate today so we can continue to give millions of older people the companionship, support and advice they need. We also hope these findings will spur everyone into being good neighbours to older people living nearby. Truly, no one should have no one in our society and together we can make sure that no one does.'

Having someone to turn to is important to us all, and this was highlighted in the survey with many UK adults saying that everyday things, such as meals out (54%), going on holiday (42%) and being successful in our careers (37%) are currently less important than having someone to go to for help and support.

Older people and their families can call Age UK Advice for free on 0800 169 65 65 to find out how the Age UK network can help someone who may be feeling alone. Lines are open 365 days a year from 8am - 7pm.

To support Age UK's work and help it provide companionship, advice and support for millions of people facing later life alone people can donate £3 today by texting [3] ALONE to 70099, calling 0800 678 1186 or visiting



Notes to editors

Contact: Karen Richards
Telephone: 020 3033 1428


*All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc.  Total sample size was 2,247 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 22nd - 23rd December 2014.  The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all UK adults (aged 18+).

[1] 26% of people aged 65+ selected being ‘always, often or sometimes' when answering the question ‘How often, if at all, do you ever feel like you have no-one to go to for help/ support?'. Population figures for the UK are based on mid-2013 population estimates, ONS 2014, using the figure of 11,131,805 people aged 65 or over in the UK. Calculations were made by Age UK.

[2] Participants could select all that apply from a list including: Being successful in my job/ career, Financial security, Going on holiday, My TV, My computer, Having meals out at restaurants, Playing/ watching my favourite sport.

[3] T&Cs - Age UK provides a range of services and your gift will go wherever the need is greatest. You will be charged £3 plus one message at your standard network rate. Age UK will receive 100% of your donation. By using this service, you agree that we may contact you in the future. If you'd rather we didn't, text DECLINE to 85010. Age UK is a registered charity (registered charity number 1128267)

Age UK

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).

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Last updated: Oct 06 2017

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