According to a new report from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), a third of people aged over 52 are lonely. For people over 80 a feeling of isolation is even greater, with more than half saying they are lonesome. Some 34 per cent of those aged between 52 and 79 were found to spend a lot of time on their own. However, for people in the same age group with disabilities or deemed to be in poor health the rate stood at 59 per cent. Laura Ferguson, director of the Campaign to End Loneliness, said being lonely is as damaging to a person's wellbeing as smoking 15 cigarettes each day and can contribute to early death. "Situations like becoming widowed or bereaved can contribute to feeling lonely, especially at a time when you're reaching an older age, like 80 plus," she stated. "You might be losing mobility and losing people around you."