A new Age UK survey has found that 140,000 people aged 65 plus in the East Midlands describe themselves as always or often feeling lonely, and two in five (41 per cent nationally say that their TV or pet is now their main form of company.
Loneliness is a huge issue that affects people all year round with a third of older people (31 per cent) in the East Midlands saying they would like to go out more often.
Age UK’s research also reveals that one in five people (20 per cent) aged 65 plus are feeling cut off from society.
Loneliness can be seriously damaging and recent studies have shown it has double the impact of obesity and that feeling extreme loneliness can increase an older person’s chances of premature death by 14 per cent[v].
Caroline Abrahams, Charity Director at Age UK, said: “At Age UK we know how devastating loneliness can be for older people and these figures are another reminder of the scale of this issue.
“Loneliness not only makes life miserable for older people it is also really bad for their health making them more vulnerable to illness and disease.
“It is time to take loneliness seriously and that’s why we’re asking everyone to take action by donating today to help us carry on supporting older people to make the most out of later life.
“Voluntary sector services like Age UK’s have never been more important because funding cuts are forcing many of the local services that help older people stay connected, such as lunch clubs, to scale down or close.”
The Charity is calling for donations to help fight loneliness through its vital national and local services.
To help Age UK end loneliness people can donate today by calling 0800 169 8787 or texting HELLO to 70004 to donate £3 and help make later life better. Alternatively people can go to www.ageuk.org.uk/get-involved/loneliness.