Loneliness causes misery and poor quality of life for too many people, but it is the oldest old – the over 85s – who are most badly affected. Nearly half of this age group experience loneliness some or most of the time. Understanding loneliness in this age group is becoming increasingly important as what was once a small group of exceptional individuals rapidly grows into a whole new generation.
This new CentreForum report by James Kempton and Sam Tomlin argues that loneliness should be a public health priority and explores practical steps that can be taken to reduce levels of loneliness among the oldest old. Addressed to politicians and policy makers in both central and local government, leaders and innovators in the voluntary and community sector, and wider society as a whole, the report urges them to give more priority to the services and support that we know can help older people avoid ageing in loneliness and isolation.
“Loneliness needs to be tackled by a change in society”s attitude. Every one of us can help to combat loneliness and we all need to be more creative about how we help elderly people and the chronically lonely to feel more a part of society.”
“We are working with partners like the Campaign to End Loneliness to reduce levels of loneliness and help people to understand the link between people”s relationships and their mental and physical health and wellbeing. I am pleased to see CentreForum focusing on this important area.”
– Norman Lamb MP, Minister of State for Care and Support