Although fewer people in their late 50s suffer from loneliness than 20 years ago, one in 10 people over the age of 55 say they are lonely and that percentage increases with age, according to new research by the SCP.
The government’s social policy think-tank says that loneliness increases as people lose their partners and their social networks. But retaining control over their own lives is also a key issue. People who live independently are less likely to say they are lonely than those who require outside carers to stay at home.
However, the over-85s who are vulnerable to loneliness may be better off in a care home, the research showed. ‘We found a clear lowering of loneliness when elderly people with severe health issues moved to a pensioners home,’ the report said.
Nevertheless, ‘coffee mornings and bingo’ are not the answer to loneliness, the researchers said. People interviewed for the survey said they did not want want organised activities. Instead they want ‘to be together’ – eating together, sitting in the garden together or having a drink together, the SCP said.