Age UK urges Government to tackle loneliness as a ‘public health challenge’

Around half a million British men over the age of 65 who suffer from a long-term health problems are lonely – and loneliness should be treated as a “major public health problem,” says charity group, Age UK.

The charity has spoken up about loneliness in the UK and called upon the Government to recognise loneliness as a serious health problem – which needs to be addressed.

“Loneliness is often a hidden issue, as many older men tend to be stoical and reluctant to admit how lonely they are. But facing the ups and downs of later life alone shouldn’t be ‘the new normal’ for any older person,” said Caroline Abrahams, charity director at Age UK.

Ms Abrahams said that increasing use of technology, hectic lifestyles and children moving away were leaving elderly men, particularly grandparents, feeling ‘left behind’, lonely and upset.

“Loneliness is a widespread problem among older men, especially for those who are unwell, bereaved or who have seen family and friends move away.

“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.

The passionate charity director cited the upcoming Father’s Day holiday as an ideal time for children to reconnect with their parents and grandparents.

“Father’s Day is a great opportunity to re-connect with older relatives, and this year we especially want to draw attention to the needs of older men, particularly if they are unwell or live alone.

“A simple phone call or a visit could mean the world to someone who is feeling lonely and forgotten,” she said.

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