Local authorities have been urged to organise activities for older people to tackle loneliness and depression.
In new guidance, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) said group activities and more volunteering opportunities would help maintain or improve the independence and mental wellbeing of pensioners.
It warns that people who are careers, live alone, have a low income or have recently developed a health condition arte particularly at risk of suffering from loneliness.
Professor Gillian Leng, deputy chief executive and director of health and Social Care at NICE, said: ‘This new guideline includes advice on putting this into practice, for example by looking at what is already in local areas and how it can be improved – are there any transport difficulties, do the older people know there are activities and services available?
‘There is no one-size-fits-all approach to promote and protect the mental wellbeing and independence of older people.’