All too often, loneliness is the reality for older people and nearly half of older people say the TV is their main source of company.
Social isolation and loneliness are more than an emotional experience, they have huge mental and physical health implications. Older people living alone are significantly more likely to experience health problems, visit their GP or attend A&E.
As the ageing population continues to grow, so does the epidemic of loneliness among older people. We’re the only charity solely committed to tackling this problem by helping older people to re-engage with their communities through regular social contact, giving them a lifeline of friendship and, vitally, something to look forward to.
What do we do?
We exist to provide social activities for older people at a time in their lives when their social circles are diminishing.
This year, 8,500 older guests were part of over 900 regular social gatherings across the UK, supported by 14,000 volunteers.
However, in response to the COVID-19 crisis we suspended these social gatherings and created a new telephone befriending service for older people called call companions.
As well as making sure that all those already receiving our support get a regular phone call throughout the lockdown, we are offering a call companion to anyone else of this generation who lives alone or in sheltered housing and feels lonely or isolated.
We plan to make call companions a permanent addition to our work and will continue to run this new service alongside our social gatherings when things get back to normal.