Response to ONS report on loneliness in older people
Published on 11 April 2013 03:30 PM
In response to the ONS report ‘Measuring National Well-being - Older people and loneliness, 2013', published today, Michelle Mitchell, Charity Director General at Age UK, said:
'All the evidence shows that it is the over 80s who are the most likely to be lonely. As we get older, we are more likely to suffer illness and disability which can prevent us from getting out and about, and people's social networks often shrink due to life-changing events such as retirement and bereavement which can increase the risk of becoming lonely.
'At Age UK we are extremely concerned that cuts to local authority budgets are exacerbating the problem of loneliness and isolation for many older people.
'The ongoing crisis in the provision of social care means that large numbers of older people are missing out on essential care that could make the difference between staying active and becoming isolated.
'Feeling lonely not only makes us miserable, it increases our risk of developing serious mental and physical health problems - research demonstrates it is as bad for your health as moderate smoking and is worse for us than obesity.
'We can all do our bit to help fight this growing problem by making time for older relatives and checking in on older friends and neighbours that we know.
Age UKs across the country provide support to older people to help them stay active and well, ranging from lunch clubs to exercise classes.
But the government must also take action to address the huge gap in social care funding to help millions of older people up and down the country who are in urgent need of support.'
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Media contact: Helen Spinney
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Notes to editors
For media enquiries relating to Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland please contact the appropriate national office: Age Scotland on 0131 668 8055, Age Cymru on 029 2043 1562 and Age NI on 028 9024 5729.
Age UK is the new force combining Age Concern and Help the Aged, dedicated to improving later life.
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. We work with our national partners, Age Scotland, Age Cymru and Age NI (together the Age UK Family), our local Age UK partners in England and local Age Concerns. We also support older people in more than 40 of the world's poorest countries through our subsidiary charity Age International and as a member of the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC).
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)