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Planning Retirement Online

Living in isolation 

March 2005   

Living in isolation

Amazon book - Loneliness in Later LifeOne in five people over 65 are alone for more than 12 hours a day says Age Concern

Britain’s older people are living in isolation, with those over the age of 65 twice as likely as other age groups to spend over 21 hours of the day alone. An NOP survey for Age Concern interviewed 1,000 people. They found that…

  • One in five in the over 65 age group spend more than 12 hours of every day on their own.

  • These people are more at risk of depression and ill-health caused by isolation and loneliness.

  • More than a quarter of people over 65 do not have a best friend, which is higher than any other age group.

  • A third of people over 65 see their local supermarket as somewhere to socialise and get out of the house and one in five people eat their meals there rather than at home.

It costs ?15,000 to set up and run a local befriending scheme to benefit 50 isolated older people over a year, says Age Concern. So it is good news that the charity has been chosen by Tesco the supermarket chain as charity of the year. Tesco will help Age Concern to raise over ?2 million to combat the problem of isolation and poverty amongst older people.
More than 500 Age Concerns and Tesco stores across the UK will be raising money to directly benefit their local communities.

NOP survey - regional findings

  • People in the North see their best friends more regularly than people in the South, but people in the South are more likely to have a best friend than those in the North.

  • One third of the people living in Wales and the West see their best friend every day.

  • More than one in eight people living in London or the Midlands spend more than 12 hours alone every day.

  • People living in the North spend less time alone than those living in the Midlands or the South.

  • Older people without a best friend are twice as likely to spend more than 18 hours a day alone than someone of the same age who does have a best friend.

  • People over 65 who live in London are the least afraid of being alone. Older people who live in the East Anglia are three times more likely to say that they are afraid of being lonely than those who live in London.

  • One in four of all the people interviewed use grocery shopping as a reason to get out of the house for a while.

  • Older people in the East Anglia, London and the South East are the least likely to chat in the supermarket.

Per cent of population of retirement age

UK: 18.5 %
England: 18.4 %
Northern Ireland: 15.9 %
Scotland: 18.9 %
Wales: 20.3 %

Based on mid-2003 Population Estimates given in these sources: Office for National Statistics, General Register Office for Scotland, Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency.



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