Loneliness and social isolation

Over 9 million people in the UK across all adult ages – more than the population of London – are either always or often lonely. Half a million older people go at least five or six days a week without seeing or speaking to anyone at all. If you know someone who is lonely or socially isolated, they may be vulnerable and open to forms of abuse such as scams and financial abuse.

As a result of the pandemic more of us may experience loneliness and social isolation due to the impact of social distancing measures and the reduction in face-to-face opportunities to socialise, connect with family, neighbours and friends, and to take part in physical activity and everyday cultural and faith experiences.

What does it feel like to be old and alone?

One million of us are already suffering from acute loneliness, while two and a half million over 60s fear they could end up similarly isolated. Learn more about what it feels like to be old and alone:

Information, support and advice

Information, support and advice on loneliness and isolation can be accessed from:

  • Age UK, including their befriending service
  • Age Space, which has a list of services for people with dementia living in Portsmouth, Southampton, Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.
  • Silver Line, which offers older people support with loneliness including a 24-hour helpline  and a befriending service to combat loneliness.
  • Good Neighbours network, a collection of over 120 local groups run by local people for local people all offering a helping hand to others in their community.

Resources for professionals

A Social Care Institute for Excellence briefing for commissioners on tackling loneliness and social isolation is available here.

The Local Government Association guide for Local Authorities on combatting loneliness is available here.