Retailers urged to interact with elderly to help combat loneliness

Retail assistants and owners are being encouraged to interact with elderly people to help play a greater role in combating loneliness, as figures revealed that 11 per cent of seniors rely on these conversations to cheer up their day.

New research conducted by Age UK, revealed that in the UK 1.7 million older people go a whole month without meeting up with a friend. Also, over the same period, an estimated 300,000 individuals over the age of 65 do not have a conversation with their family or friends.

The charity aims to combat loneliness by promoting a range of activities for older people, including lunch clubs, cooking classes, dance lessons and advice sessions.

In addition, a large number of mobility shops host coffee mornings and other community events to help their current and new customers to socialise.

Age UK is trying to encourage elderly individuals to utilise these events and make an effort to interact and meet people.

Loneliness can affect people all year round, but it can become more difficult during the winter months, due to mobility, health issues as well as darker days.

This can leave older people feeling isolated, alone, and more reliant on family, friends or neighbours to visit them.

Caroline Abrahams, Director of Age UK, said: “Loneliness sucks the joy out of life and affects far too many older people, but if we all play our part there’s a lot we can do to tackle the problem.

“As people age, their local area usually matters a lot more to them than it did when they were younger because they spend more time in it.”

Ms Abrahams added: “None of us can ‘solve loneliness’ on our own, but a friendly chat with your neighbour or when you’re out and about can brighten up an older person’s day and do much more good than most of us would ever guess.”

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