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Loneliness among elderly men a growing problem

Loneliness among elderly men a growing problem
30th June 2016

Around 550,000 older men with long-term health problems are suffering from loneliness in England alone, according to new research.

The study, conducted by Age UK, looked at the problems suffered by men over the age of 65 across the country and found there was a significant problem with isolation.

This issue is also likely to worsen over the next few years, with the number of people in this demographic expected to rise by 65 per cent by 2030, the charity warned.

According to the research, men are more likely to be lonely than women of the same age, as they have less contact with family and friends, exacerbating feelings of loneliness. This risk of isolation also increases if they suffer from a long-term illness or a disability of some kind, as well as rising as they get older.

The vast majority of those surveyed for the study felt there needed to be more support for lonely older people, while more than a quarter think a weekly visit would help most people who feel isolated.

A further 15 per cent think engaging with a local club or getting to know their neighbours could also help address the problem.

Caroline Abrahams, charity director at Age UK, said loneliness was a widespread problem, with many older men suffering from it, especially if they have experienced a bereavement or are themselves unwell.

"As more older men live longer we need to appreciate that the numbers who are chronically lonely are likely to increase too – unless we do something about it, which we can and we must do," she explained.

However, this can be a challenge, as loneliness if often a "hidden issue". Many older men tend to be reluctant to admit how lonely they are, Ms Abrahams added, but going through the "ups and downs of later life" alone shouldn't be the new standard for any older person.

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