Together, we can tackle loneliness
"I’ve long supported campaigns to help tackle and end loneliness. Loneliness is a hidden epidemic, but one that the late Jo Cox MP was very much conscious of. In her memory, the government is helping to make £20 million available to charities and community groups working to tackle loneliness." Penny Mordaunt MP.
We can all play a part in tackling this epidemic. Sometimes a small and kind gesture can make a real difference.
It’s not just older people who suffer from loneliness. It can be anyone. The lonely often suffer in silence. For many, it is hidden behind a facade of normalcy. While smiling and having fun, many hide their core feelings of loneliness.
Look out for neighbours in your street. If you know of a lonely person in your street, why not invite them over for a cup of tea, coffee or if you’re holding a summer BBQ?
Looking in on a neighbour, visiting an elderly relative or making that call or visit we’ve been promising to a friend we haven’t seen in a long time can make all the difference to someone who is feeling lonely.
Start a conversation. It’s not always easy to know who or how to help. A good start is simply to stop and talk to an elderly neighbour if you pass them on the street.
Organisations who can help:
Do you know an older person who lives alone, rarely leaves the house, has recently suffered a bereavement, is in poor health, disabled, has sight or hearing loss, or doesn’t seem to have close family living nearby? Ask them if they need any help with tasks such as shopping, posting letters, picking up prescriptions and medicines or dog-walking.
Help with household tasks. Getting older can make it hard to tackle even simple jobs around the house and older people often really appreciate any offer of help with basic chores such as taking out the rubbish, changing light bulbs, fastening sash windows, clearing snow off the path, putting up pictures and so on.
Some facts around loneliness
Loneliness is likely to increase your risk of death by 29% (Holt-Lunstad, 2015)
There are 1.2 million chronically lonely older people in the UK (Age UK 2016, No-one should have no one).
Half a million older people go at least five or six days a week without seeing or speaking to anyone at all (Age UK 2016, No-one should have no one).
Over half (51%) of all people aged 75 and over live alone (Office for National Statistics 2010. General Lifestyle Survey 2008).
Two fifths all older people (about 3.9 million) say the television is their main company (Age, U.K., 2014. Evidence Review: Loneliness in Later Life. London: Age UK).
There are over 2.2 million people aged 75 and over living alone in Great Britain, an increase of almost a quarter (24%) over the past 20 years (ONS).
A study by The Co-op and the British Red Cross reveals over 9 million people in the UK across all adult ages – more than the population of London – are either always or often lonely.
Research commissioned by Eden Project initiative The Big Lunch found that disconnected communities could be costing the UK economy £32 billion every year.
A survey by Action for Children found that 43% of 17 – 25 year olds who used their service had experienced problems with loneliness, and that of this same group less than half said they felt loved.
Action for Children have also reported 24% of parents surveyed said they were always or often lonely.
Research by Sense has shown that up to 50% of disabled people will be lonely on any given day.
"YOUNG OR OLD, LONELINESS DOES NOT DISCRIMINATE" JO COX
Help and support in Portsmouth.
If you are affected by loneliness or know someone who may need help, there is help and support available locally too.
Befriending Services - Age UK
Social Saturdays (Paulsgrove, Highslopes Community Centre).
FoodCycle - free hot cooked meals for people who are lonely, vulnerable and homeless.
Home Coffee (Cosham High Street and Albert Road) / Good Company