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Almost 425,000 older people in Scotland have felt lonely during later life

Published on 05 September 2019 12:34 PM

Cadbury Dairy Milk announces partnership to help combat loneliness

• Over half a million older people in Scotland say just a few minutes of conversation makes a difference to their week

New research revealed today illustrates the impact of loneliness, with almost 425,000 older people in Scotland claiming to have felt lonely during later life. In a typical week almost 170,000 people aged 65 in Scotland and over speak to three or fewer people they know.

That’s why Cadbury Dairy Milk is launching a new brand campaign Donate Your Words in support of Age UK, Age Scotland’s sister charity. For the first time ever, the UK’s number one chocolate brand will be removing the words from its iconic bars and ‘donating’ them to the Charity to help alleviate loneliness amongst older people.

The limited edition bar will be sold in supermarkets nationwide with 30p from each bar going towards the charity to help provide vital services and support when older people need it most.

The campaign will also encourage the public to donate their words by pledging to reach out and have a chat with older people in their communities.

The survey by Cadbury Dairy Milk and Age UK, found that simple, small gestures can play a part in helping to tackle loneliness with over half a million people in Scotland claiming a few minutes of conversation would make a huge difference to their week . According to the survey, some of the actions that would help older people feel more confident when outside the home are:

1. Knowing their neighbours – 25%
2. Someone smiling or saying hello when at bus stop/in a queue – 20%
3. Neighbour stopping to say hello – 16%
4. Someone asking how their day has gone – 14%

Laura Gray, Brand Manager at Mondelez said “We’re so proud to announce this partnership and to be supporting Age UK - it’s such an important charity that is really tackling the issue of loneliness. We are donating the words from our bars of Cadbury Dairy Milk and encouraging people up and down the country to donate theirs through small gestures that could really help change the lives of older people.”

When asked, 55% of 16-45 year olds in the UK surveyed claim they’re worried about growing lonely in older age and 64% believing it gets harder to hold onto relationships the older you get.

While 67% of those aged 16-45 admitted they would be likely to do something that could potentially help boost the confidence of an older person who felt lonely, the research revealed the top five issues stopping them helping someone who they think feels lonely:

1. They’re worried the other person won't respond well (37%)
2. They’re too shy (30%)
3. They don’t know how to help (27%)
4. Find it hard to tell if someone needs help (25%)
5. Too busy (25%)

Brian Sloan, Chief Executive, at Age Scotland, said: “Loneliness can affect us at any time of life, but retirement, bereavement and ill health mean many older people find they are spending a lot less time enjoying the company of others than they’d like.

“Loneliness can have a devastating impact on your health, your well-being and the way you see yourself - it can make you feel invisible and forgotten. Working with Cadbury Dairy Milk on this campaign could really help to raise even more awareness of the issue and encourage everybody to do their bit to help tackle it.

“A friendly ‘hello’ or ‘how are you?’ is something most of us take for granted – it’s just part of everyday life. But these latest figures show that hundreds of thousands of older people in Scotland will spend today and the rest of this week alone, with no one to share even a few simple words with. That’s why our Helpline, Community Connecting, and other services are so crucial and help older people every day of the year.”

For more information about the Cadbury Dairy Milk Donate Your Words campaign visit www.ageuk.org.uk/donateyourwords and pick up a bar in store today.

-- Ends --

Notes to editors

Figures from questions asked to older people (65+) are taken from Age UK/ Kantar F2F Omnibus Research polling which took place from 10th July – 27th July 2019. The polling was conducted face-to-face and with a UK-wide sample of 1896 people aged 65+. Figures extrapolated to national population using NRS Population Estimates.
Figures from questions asked to people aged 16-45 are taken from Cadbury Equity/ OnePoll Research which took place on 15th July 2019. The polling was conducted online with a UK-wide sample of 2,000 people, aged 16-45

Age UK calculation based on data from Kantar F2F Omnibus Research polling for Age UK, July 2019 (sample of 1896 people aged 65+ in Great Britain, of whom 200 were in Scotland) and ONS mid-year 2018 population estimates (accessed 13th August 2019). 41.39% of people surveyed in Scotland answered either ‘rarely’ or ‘sometimes’ ‘often’ or ‘always’ when asked: Many of us have probably felt lonely at some point. Have you at any time, in your later life, had periods where you have felt lonely? The ONS estimate that there are 1,026,114 people aged 65 and over in Scotland. The number of people therefore aged 65 and over in Scotland who have felt lonely in later life is estimated to be 424,692 (i.e. 41.39% multiplied 1,026,114; differences in answer due to rounding of percentage figure).

Age UK calculation based on data from Kantar F2F Omnibus Research polling for Age UK, July 2019 (sample of 1896 people aged 65+ in Great Britain, of whom 200 were in Scotland) and ONS mid-year 2018 population estimates (accessed 13th August 2019). 16.43% of people surveyed in Scotland answered either ‘no one’ or ‘only one person’ or ‘2-3 people’ when asked: In a typical week, how many people (whom you know) do you normally chat to? The ONS estimate that there are 1,026,114 people aged 65 and over in Scotland. The number of people therefore aged 65 and over in Scotland who speak to three or fewer people they know is estimated to be 168,615 (i.e. 16.43% multiplied by 1,026,114; differences in answer due to rounding of percentage figure).

Age UK calculation based on data from Kantar F2F Omnibus Research polling for Age UK, July 2019 (sample of 1896 people aged 65+ in Great Britain, of whom 200 were in Scotland) and ONS mid-year 2018 population estimates (accessed 13th August 2019). 55.10% of people surveyed in Scotland either ‘strongly agreed’ or ‘slightly agreed” with the statement ‘Just a few minutes of conversation makes a difference to my week’. The ONS estimate that there are 1,026,114 people aged 65 and over in Great Britain. The number of people therefore aged 65 and over in Great Britain who claim that just a few minutes of conversation makes a difference to their week is estimated to be 565,355 (i.e. 55.10% multiplied 1,026,114; differences in answer due to rounding of percentage figure).

Data from Kantar F2F Omnibus Research polling for Age UK, July 2019 (sample of 1896 people aged 65+ in Great Britain, of whom 200 were in Scotland). 24.96% of people surveyed in Scotland answered ‘Knowing my neighbours’ when asked Which, if any, of the following would make you feel more confident when outside of your home?

Data from Kantar F2F Omnibus Research polling for Age UK, July 2019 (sample of 1896 people aged 65+ in Great Britain, of whom 200 were in Scotland). 19.60% of people surveyed in Scotland answered ‘Someone smiling or saying hello when we’re at a bus stop or in a queue’ when asked Which, if any, of the following would make you feel more confident when outside of your home?

Data from Kantar F2F Omnibus Research polling for Age UK, July 2019 (sample of 1896 people aged 65+ in Great Britain, of whom 200 were in Scotland). 16.43% of people surveyed in Scotland answered ‘A neighbour stopping to say hello when we’re both out and about’ when asked Which, if any, of the following would make you feel more confident when outside of your home?

Data from Kantar F2F Omnibus Research polling for Age UK, July 2019 (sample of 1896 people aged 65+ in Great Britain, of whom 200 were in Scotland). 13.80% of people surveyed in Scotland answered ‘Someone asking me how my day is going’ when asked Which, if any, of the following would make you feel more confident when outside of your home?

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Telephone: 0131 668 0364 / 07801 500 663 / communications@agescotland.org.uk

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