Member of Parliament for Clwyd South, Simon Baynes MP, is backing Loneliness Awareness Week – an annual campaign to raise awareness of loneliness and encourage more people to talk about it. This year, Loneliness Awareness Week runs from June 13th to June 17th.
Age UK research found that 1.2 million older people across the UK often feel lonely. Before the pandemic, 225,000 older people often went a week without speaking to anyone, and an Age UK poll of older people found that 27% said they speak less to family now than before the start of the pandemic.
Age UK provides several services to help older people who are feeling lonely. These include:
- Friendship services: We offer 2 different types of friendship services: regular telephone friendship calls, and with our partner charity the Silver Line we offer a free telephone service so that older people can chat with someone over the phone 24/7. Many local Age UK’s also offer a face-to-face befriending service when it is safe to do so.
- Lunch clubs: Our local Age UKs organise lunch clubs as a way for older people to catch up with friends or meet new people.
- Walking football: The Football Association, Sport England and Age UK have announced a walking football programme, with the goal of reaching more than 1,000 older people in communities across England over the next two years.
- Transport: Age UK works alongside other community organisations to provide door-to-door transport for older people to help them to maintain their independence.
- Connecting Digitally: Age UK offers computer training courses to help older people who are looking to connect digitally get online.
- Information and advice: Our free national advice line supports older people to ensure they’re receiving the financial support they are entitled to. This is vital, as low income is one of the key risk factors for social isolation.
Older people and their loved ones can also get advice on combatting loneliness by calling our advice line on 0800 678 1602.
Simon Baynes MP said:
“Loneliness is something that can affect anyone of us at any point in our lives, but this issue has become more prominent during the Coronavirus pandemic, making Loneliness Awareness Week more important than ever. Not being able to see family, friends and loved ones during this time has left many people at risk of feeling isolated and lonely. This Loneliness Awareness Week, I want my older constituents who are feeling lonely to know that there’s support available. Age UK have a number of resources such as: telephone befriending, walking football, lunch club and information and advice, so please don’t suffer in silence.
“I also have a personal perspective on this issue, as my mother-in-law, Alina, had Alzheimer’s and my wife Maggie and I set up the charity, Concertina – Music for the Elderly, about 25 years ago, which provides live music for the elderly in care homes and day centres across Wales and England. This not only brightens up their lives, but also combats loneliness and provides vital therapy for those suffering from dementia. More information can be found here: https://www.concertinamusic.org.uk/.”