Loneliness has a devastating impact on the lives of older people and it’s on the rise. Over five million older people are affected by loneliness, more than one million say they are often lonely, and this number is predicted to increase 40 per cent by 2030.
We all know how distressing it is to feel lonely, so imagine feeling lonely every day. Did you know that loneliness has also been known to cause depression and is as big a risk to health as smoking or alcohol consumption, leading to a poorer quality of life and a higher rate of mortality?
Having everyday interactions with other people has been proven to combat loneliness, which is why we’re urging everyone to Be a Friend and connect with older neighbours and members of their community. Being a Friend is easy; it’s simply getting to know the people that live around you and looking out for each other where you can.
From having a chat at the bus stop or over the garden fence, there are so many simple ways you can stay connected. If you’re driving into town, why not drop in on an older neighbour and ask if they need anything or would like to join you? If you’re out at work in the daytime, why not ask an older neighbour to keep a key to your house or look out for a delivery? It really is easy to make someone feel less alone and help make sure everyone leads a happy and fulfilled life, whatever their age.
So, what will you do to Be a Friend?