Laura Sharman 06 January 2017

Half a million older people are ‘profoundly alone’, warns charity

Half a million older people are ‘profoundly alone’, warns charity image

Half a million people over the age of 60 usually spend every day alone, leading to an increased demand on health services, according to new research by Age UK.

The report - No one should have no one: working to end loneliness amongst older people - also outlines the early findings of its pilot programme to tackle loneliness in older people. It found 88% of older people experienced a reduction in in loneliness following a successful Age UK trial.

The pilot scheme included working with people in the community to identify older people at risk of loneliness, developing co-operative networks with professionals, and helping frontline staff to recognise the characteristics of loneliness.

Caroline Abrahams, charity director at Age UK, said: ‘This new analysis shows that about a million older people in our country are profoundly alone, many of whom are likely to be enduring the pain and suffering of loneliness.

‘That’s why the early results of our pilot programme into tackling loneliness in later life are so important: nine in ten older people who were often lonely when they started the programme were less lonely six to twelve weeks later, with many also saying they felt generally happier, more confident and more independent as a result.’

The charity warned that lonely older people are more likely to develop health conditions such as heart problems, depression and dementia.

Age UK is calling for the awareness of loneliness to be built into all councils’ strategic functions such as housing and public health, and for more investment to be put into local community resources to support long-term action to help lonely older people.

Responding to the report, chairman of the Local Government Association’s Community Wellbeing Board, Cllr Izzi Seccombe, said: ‘We have long been calling for loneliness to be recognised as a major public health concern and we support Age UK in calling on MPs to put this important issue on the Government's agenda.

‘Loneliness and social isolation have a major impact on people’s health and wellbeing. Research shows loneliness can be more harmful than smoking 15 cigarettes a day.’

For your free daily news bulletin
Highways jobs

Senior Project Manager

Leicestershire County Council
Up to £50,823 per annum
The role of this post is to oversee the project management, development and implementation of the County Council’s Major Transport Projects.. Leicestershire
Recuriter: Leicestershire County Council

Programme and Change Delivery Manager (Spatial Planning and Urban Design)

London Borough of Richmond upon Thames and London Borough of Wandsworth
£43,833 - £53,115 Depending on skills and experience
Are you a change delivery manager with expertise in England’s local government spatial planning and urban design sector? Wandsworth, London (Greater)
Recuriter: London Borough of Richmond upon Thames and London Borough of Wandsworth

Early Years Practitioner

The Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea Council
£26,544 - £30,618 per annum pro rata
This is a diverse area and we have high aspirations for all our children, starting with... Kensington and Chelsea, London (Greater)
Recuriter: The Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea Council

Programme Manager - Association of Directors of Children’s Services

City of York Council
£50,000 to £60,000 pa
This role will help to shape an annual SLI work plan and variously oversee, facilitate, commission or directly deliver and... York, North Yorkshire
Recuriter: City of York Council

School Wellbeing Worker

City of York Council
£27,614 to £30,602 per annum
The role will involve providing schools with consultation and advice, training, direct work in... York, North Yorkshire
Recuriter: City of York Council

Public Property

Latest issue - Public Property News

This issue of Public Property examines how how flexible workspaces can lead the way in regeneration for local authorities, Why local authority intervention is key to successful urban regeneration schemes and if the Government’s challenge of embracing beauty is an opportunity for communities.

The March issue also takes a closer look at Blackburn with Darwen Council's first digital health hub to help people gain control over health and care services.

Register for your free digital issue