Most people will feel lonely at some point in their lives. It’s a deeply personal experience that - in most cases - will thankfully pass. But for a growing number of people, particularly those in later life, loneliness can define their lives and have a significant impact on their wellbeing.
|Loneliness: in figures|
... older people in the UK live alone, of whom over 2 million are aged 75+.
... older people often feel ignored or invisible.
Loneliness can be as harmful for our health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day.
We often feel lonely when we feel we don't have strong social relationships or are unhappy with the ones we have.
There have been several studies that have identified a range of factors associated with being lonely in older age. These factors include:
Loneliness is associated with depression, sleep problems, impaired cognitive health, heightened vascular resistance, hypertension, psychological stress and mental health problems.
92-year-old Len got in touch with his local Age UK to enquire about their befriending services and is now visited by volunteer befriender Ivor.
In this video, Len and Ivor talk about their growing friendship, and how Age UK's befriending service has made a difference.
They spend an hour each week chatting about a range of topics that interest them, and have developed a strong friendship.