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The Missing Million: Six recommendations to reduce loneliness

Thursday, June 9th, 2016 | Raising Awareness

Currently, there are 1,100,000 chronically lonely individuals over the age of 65 in the UK; a shocking statistic that has the potential to easily rise further unless we act now.

Thankfully, many individuals, organisations and local governing bodies realise this and have called out for support in reducing the country’s loneliness figures – realising their moral duties to support those who are vulnerable and alone in our community, as well as the economic and social benefits that could be reaped.

In response to this, The Campaign to End Loneliness has recently realised its latest report, ‘The Missing Million: In Search of the Loneliest in Our Communities'. The document looks into methods for identifying loneliness in individuals and geographical locations, how to prepare frontline staff to deal with loneliness and provides numerous recommendations throughout for addressing the epidemic.

Below, we have compiled some of the report’s key findings; incorporating some of its most surprising statistics and key recommendations for supporting and caring for lonely individuals:

1) Loneliness can affect mortality more than obesity and as much a smoking.

2) If you’re caring or supporting a lonely individual, make sure you fully understand loneliness; understanding how it can occur, what it means, how it can affect individuals and, perhaps most importantly, how they can overcome it.

3) 17% of the elderly see key social relations less than once a week and 11% see them less than once a month.

4) Build links with local social groups and services, helping the lonely individual in your care create relationships within their local community. For example, there are often local day centres or board or card game clubs where people can meet to play whisk, 21 or Bridge. For the more active source a local sports clubs to swim, play bowls or golf.  Information about this can be found on the web, local community boards or newspapers.

5) Over half of 75-year-olds live alone

6) 40% of older people, equivalent to 3.9 million people, say that television is their main source of company

To find out more about loneliness you can read the full Missing Million report, here. You may also remember the John Lewis Christmas Advert, Man on the Moon, which joined forces with Age UK to help tackle loneliness. You can read about this and other loneliness facts on our blog, here.

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