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Loneliness research and resources

1.4 million older people in the UK are often lonely. Loneliness is a major issue that is now widely recognised in society today.

Age UK works to combat loneliness through influencing, campaigning and service provision. Our work is underpinned by evidence and data. 

Loneliness and Covid-19

Our new report looks at what is driving loneliness for the 1.4 million people affected by it and makes recommendations for the Government on how best to tackle this challenge. From investing in digital skills, to improving transport services, to supporting the voluntary sector, we’re calling for a reinvigorated effort to reach and help those who often or always feel lonely.

Loneliness in later life - the size and cause of the challenge, and what works in tackling the issue

What is the prevalence of loneliness among people aged 50 and over? What factors increase the risk of these people being lonely often? How can we help these people overcome these feelings of loneliness? How can we measure changes in loneliness?

Read our report to find out the answers to the questions.

Loneliness and isolation – understanding the difference and why it matters

The words “loneliness” and “social isolation” are often used interchangeably, but loneliness is not the same as social isolation. People can be isolated (alone) yet not feel lonely. People can feel lonely and yet be surrounded by people. The difference between these two concepts is important for the design of services and support for older people.

Find out more about the differences, similarities and why it is important to distinguish between loneliness and social isolation when developing policies and services for older people.

Read the full article

Loneliness heat maps

What makes older people at risk of being lonely, and which neighbourhoods have the highest risk?

Using evidence from published studies, our Research team collated the factors that are associated with being lonely in older age.

We then combined this information with data from the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing and the Census 2011 and developed an interactive heat map that shows the relative risk of loneliness across 32,844 neighbourhoods in England.

Explore the data

Find out more about our heat map and how to use it

Measuring loneliness

How is loneliness measured across the countries of the UK? What does this mean for comparing ‘what works’ from different parts of the UK? How can you combine a direct and indirect measure of loneliness to get a more complete picture of feelings of loneliness? Read our papers to find out answers to these questions.

Loneliness research and practice articles

Throughout 2018, we published a series of articles in conjunction with Care Connect, a research and innovation hub at the University of Sheffield.

The articles aim to raise awareness of existing and on-going research and evidenced-based practice on loneliness in relation to topical themes, illustrated with case studies on services and practice.


Last updated: Dec 06 2023

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