Understanding loneliness

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1 in 3

older people are affected by loneliness -over 5 million say the television is their main form of company. 

1 million

older people say they are often or always lonely and over half a million leave their house once a week or less.

450,000

older people spent Christmas Day alone. 

The impact of loneliness

Loneliness and social isolation has become a huge problem in our nation and on a local level.  It can affect people of all ages, but perhaps the most vulnerable are our ageing population.And it’s a growing epidemic – one that’s increasingly recognised as having dire physical, mental and emotional consequences. Loneliness can effect anyone but for older people it’s often associated with family members moving away or working long hours and close friends passing away. As one senior put it, ‘Your world dies before you do’

Lacking social connection is a comparable risk factor for early death as smoking 15 cigarettes a day, and is worse for us than well-known risk factors such as obesity and physical inactivity. Loneliness increases the likelihood of mortality by 26%.

Lonely individuals are more likely to:

  • have high blood pressure
  • develop dementia 
  • develop coronary heart disease and stroke 
  • Have a higher risk of the onset of disability 
  • Visit their GP 
  • use accident an emergency services
  • use medication
  • undergo early entry into a care home or residential home 

Experts agree that social isolation is the biggest challenge facing our aging society and many older people fear loneliness more than lack of money or deteriorating health. We hope that you can help us achieve our aim of tackling this issue through friendship, support and social activities. We want older people to no longer feel unwanted, unvalued and invisible but to feel honoured, respected and included.