Loneliness research and resources
There are 1.4m chronically lonely older people in England, and many more across the rest of the UK, making this a major issue that is now widely recognised in society today.
Age UK works to combat loneliness through influencing, campaigning and service provision. Our work is underpinned by evidence and data.
Loneliness in later life - the size and cause of the challenge, and what works in tackling the issue
What is the prevalence of loneliness among people aged 50 and over? What factors increase the risk of these people being lonely often? How can we help these people overcome these feelings of loneliness? How can we measure changes in loneliness?
Read our report to find out the answers to the questions.
Loneliness and isolation – understanding the difference and why it matters
The words “loneliness” and “social isolation” are often used interchangeably, but loneliness is not the same as social isolation. People can be isolated (alone) yet not feel lonely. People can feel lonely and yet be surrounded by people. The difference between these two concepts is important for the design of services and support for older people.
Find out more about the differences, similarities and why it is important to distinguish between loneliness and social isolation when developing policies and services for older people.
Loneliness heat maps
What makes older people at risk of being lonely, and which neighbourhoods have the highest risk?
Using evidence from published studies, our Research team collated the factors that are associated with being lonely in older age.
We then combined this information with data from the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing and the Census 2011 and developed an interactive heat map that shows the relative risk of loneliness across 32,844 neighbourhoods in England.
Explore the data
Find out more about our heat map and how to use it
How is loneliness measured across the countries of the UK? What does this mean for comparing ‘what works’ from different parts of the UK? How can you combine a direct and indirect measure of loneliness to get a more complete picture of feelings of loneliness? Read our papers to find out answers to these questions.
Loneliness research and practice articles
Throughout 2018, we published a series of articles in conjunction with Care Connect, a research and innovation hub at the University of Sheffield.
The articles aim to raise awareness of existing and on-going research and evidenced-based practice on loneliness in relation to topical themes, illustrated with case studies on services and practice.
More resources on loneliness
- Evidence review of loneliness in later life (July 2015) (PDF, 880 KB)
- Policy position on tackling loneliness and isolation in the UK (2016) (PDF, 749 KB)
- No one should have no one: what Age UK is doing to address loneliness (2016) (PDF, 635 KB)
- Our Testing Approaches to Reducing Loneliness project
- Our experience and learning from measuring loneliness
- Webinar: How we measure loneliness (YouTube)
- Later life facts and stats (PDF, 585 KB)
For more information call the Age UK Advice Line on 0800 169 65 65 (8am-7pm, 365 days a year).