Some people seek isolation, but few choose to be lonely.
"We have data that suggests people's social networks have got smaller and families are not providing the same level of social context they may have done 50 years ago.
It's not because they are bad or uncaring families, but it's to do with geographical distance, marriage breakdown, multiple caring responsibilities and longer working hours". - source
Tackling loneliness - some ideas:
Spend time with your cat (or pet of choice)
"I am 79 years old and was always feeling lonely in the evenings - I told my daughter that I would like a kitten, so she searched a cat sanctuary and I chose a little black one and called him Barney. He was eight weeks old when I got him, and he has completely changed my life around because he wants attention all day. I cannot imagine my life now without him. I am disabled but manage to look after him very well, and he is a happy little boy of five months." - Joan Gutteridge (on the pic)
"My cat - she is a constant companion at home and a real comfort. I have to keep going to make sure she has everything she needs, and she relies on me as her significant other. She has become more cuddly, which I find makes me happy." - Kerry Williams
Volunteer for a charity
"When I reached rock-bottom, I signed up to volunteer for two charities - one helping disadvantaged families and children, and the other in conservation work. I also joined a community choir, got an allotment - and adopted a cat. I am beginning to feel a lot more connected to my community, and a lot less lonely." - Nancy Saunders
Half of people aged 75 and over live alone - about 2 million people across England - with many saying they can go days, even weeks with no social interaction at all.
Loneliness is no longer just a personal misfortune but has grown into a social epidemic. - source
Minister for loneliness appointed to continue Jo Cox's work
The Commission on Loneliness was first set up by Ms Cox, who was killed before the EU referendum.
How to help lonely elderly people
- Start a conversation. Stop and talk. Don't hurry them.
- Offer practical help, such as shopping, posting a letter, picking up prescriptions or walking their dog.
- Offer to accompany them or give them a lift to medical appointments, the library, hairdressers or faith services.
- Share your time - volunteer with an organisation that has befriending services matching you with an isolated elderly person for home visits or regular phone calls.
- Help with household tasks - offer to take out the rubbish, change light bulbs, clear snow, put up pictures.
- Share a meal - take round an extra plate of hot home-cooked food or a frozen portion.
- Listen and don't make assumptions. People can feel lonely even if it looks like they have a busy and full life.