A new survey, conducted by the charity Campaign to End Loneliness, has found that one in five people over 60 experience loneliness and feel that they have no one to reach out to.
The poll of over 1,000 people over 60 found that 20% felt lonely, and disagreed or strongly disagreed with the statement: “I feel that I have someone to turn to when I feel lonely”. The findings lend support to a survey conducted earlier this year by Age UK, which found that up to a million people over the age of 65 felt lonely all or most of the time.
In response to the results, Campaign to End Loneliness are warning that loneliness and isolation can be extremely harmful to older people, increasing the likelihood of dementia, high blood pressure, depression and falls. Research released by the charity reveals that loneliness is as much of a health risk to older people as smoking 15 cigarettes a day.
Following the survey, the charity say that local authorities need to do more to prevent loneliness, including increasing transport services, access to the internet and local activities. Laura Alcock-Ferguson, Director for the Campaign to End Loneliness, said, “It is very sad to know that one in five who feel lonely in older age have no one to turn to. We need local authorities to address the many triggers of loneliness by maintaining and providing essential services that older people rely on to stay connected.”
Fiona Lowry, CEO of the Good Care Group, said, “Loneliness can be devastating for older people, which is why we place such an emphasis on continuing to live a well-rounded life at home. Home care enables individuals to remain active in their social and communal groups, and in addition to providing care, highly trained live-in carers can help older people to continue their hobbies, get out and about in the local area and keep in regular contact with friends and family.”