Loneliness is a reality for many of the UK’s elderly. Research from Contact the Elderly and Cera Care shows the extent of this issue. 35% of the UK elderly population see a friend or relative once a week. This and more is included in the story.
The survey asked about the experiences and feelings of 978 people from across the UK aged 60 and over regarding loneliness. 1 in 6 people reported feeling lonely half to all of the time.
Given the low levels of contact with friends and family experienced by many people over the age of 60, it is no surprise that 65% of older people in the UK admit to feelings of loneliness. 82% agree that loneliness is alleviated when they see family and friends. More than half of those taking the survey, 54%, said that they would like more contact with friends and family.
As well as feelings of isolation, loneliness can have a damaging effect on the mental and physical health of sufferers. 22% of those surveyed felt that loneliness had affected their mental health whilst 19% said that it had had a damaging effect on their physical health.
Loneliness affects people across the UK.
In Sheffield, 67% of elderly residents see friends or family members less than once a week, with 14% having no contact with friends, relatives or loved ones.
In Bristol, 44% have contact once a week or less, while this is the case for 43% of residents in Norwich and 41% in Cardiff.
Across Wales as a whole, 17% of elderly people are left with no contact from family and friends throughout the year.
Meryl Davies, Chief Executive of Contact the Elderly said: “Loneliness is the reality for many of the two million people aged 75 and over who live alone in the UK. At Contact the Elderly we provide social gatherings for more than 6,000 isolated people across the UK each year and for many of them, we are the only people they see all month.
Since 1965, we have brought friendship and laughter to the lives of over 100,000 older people. We are committed to creating opportunities for real, long-term connections and we will continue to develop across the UK by recruiting new volunteers and setting up new groups. If you know an older person living alone who could benefit from joining one of our local monthly social events, please get in touch.”
Plenty of positivity exists within the elderly population however, with 73% feeling that now they’re older it is just as easy to communicate and stay in touch with people. Again, 73% feel that poor mobility doesn’t necessarily impact their ability to get to social events and 74% feel just as confident talking to new people.
Cera has produced a guide detailing the steps that can be taken to help reduce feelings of loneliness and social isolation. For more information, visit the Cera website https://ceracare.co.uk/blog/how-to-help-a-loved-one-who-is-lonely/.
Anyone wishing to get in touch with Contact the Elderly can do so on their free phone number 0800 716 543.