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TV is main form of company for thousands of older people as Age UK launches loneliness plea

By The Citizen  |  Posted: May 05, 2014

Plea to help battle loneliness among older people

Comments (6)

The TV or a pet is the main form of company for thousands of older people in the UK, a comprehensive new survey has found.

Charity Age UK has found that over one million people aged 65-plus in Britain describe themselves as always or often feeling lonely, up on last year, and two in five (41%) say their TV or pet is now their main form of company.

The charity is calling for donations to help fight loneliness through its vital national and local services.

Nearly a third (30%) of older people said they would like to go out more often.

Age UK’s research also reveals that one in eight people (12%) 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.

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."

Age UK is helping to tackle loneliness by supporting a range of services such as befriending which might include home visits and telephone calls for people who are feeling lonely or isolated.

To help Age UK end loneliness people can donate by calling 0800 169 8787 or texting HELLO to 70004 to donate £3. Alternatively people can go to www.ageuk.org.uk/get-involved/loneliness

Older people and their families can get in touch with Age UK to see how the Charity could help someone who may be feeling lonely by calling Age UK Advice for free on 0800 169 65 65.

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  • cortezcortez  |  May 05 2014, 2:19PM

    Evidently chickens are good for combating lonleyness (Jeremy Vine radio 2 today )

  • honslknjklyt  |  May 03 2014, 9:17PM

    And this is my point Richard Burton. These charities like Age Concern have many people working for them on very good wages. The money goes to those who already have and to pensioners who know EXACTLY how to get it, There are many out there who are not greedy, live on what they have, are very lonely and are not being reached. These lonely ones are the ones who wouldn't have the guts to go to a pensioners free coffee session etc. I think an answer, though not the answer, an anwer would be for people just to go and see them individually, someone sympathetic just to see if they are ok. Someone from the council, or some such body. This would help make sure the money gets to where it is needed and wanted. Of course this would cost a lot of money to do, but I would rather my money pay for that than pay a pensioners yearly heating allowance that is not means tested.

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  • Richardburton  |  May 03 2014, 8:41PM

    If we give Age concern more money to help the elderly , How are they going to reach the people who are lonely? People already give money to them so how are they going to get the names and Address of the over 65's who aren't known to any charity? How do the older person know what is available to them if they don't what is available ? Money isn't always the answer but a joined up plan is!

  • honslknjklyt  |  May 03 2014, 7:45PM

    I said there SEEMS to be and I think what you say is wrong. There is a strong divide between many people, such as the rich and the poor, the haves and the have nots.

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  • Apothegm_  |  May 03 2014, 5:59PM

    When someone says "there are two types of [anything]", then there is but one type of reasoning: wrong. You can't even say there are two genders: male and female!

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  • honslknjklyt  |  May 03 2014, 11:18AM

    There seems to be two types of pensioners - 1. The arrogant type who know every little trick in the book to play on their age and can't wait to say "I'm only a pensioner, I've worked my socks off all my life (even if they haven't), those that get it all, computer courses at the age of 79 and attend all the exclusive pensioners clubs, get every hamper going and such 2. The pensioners who are graceful, the ones who don't play on their age and get on with their lives the best they can, not wanting to be a burden, don't expect doors to be opened for them as a right and give a kind inspirational smile when someone does. People who are kind to those around them and are pleasant because they are pleasant people. I know an old man, very nice he is too. His wife died and he was encouraged to join the British Legion where he lived for company. For him it was the worst thing he could have done, he sat there on his own for half an hour after being snubbed and then went home, never to go back. Not all British Legion Clubs are like this, but that one was. Churches are most often the same, clicky with those that they know and view everyone else as a threat. Other elderly people could do a lot more to help people of their own age. Loneliness is a terrible thing. There are many older people with no family at all or no family nearby BUT we have to remember also that with the changes in society, marriage being trivialised and families long distances apart due to housing and work, there are many youngsters and middle aged who have absolutely no family at all.

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