In our launch publication, Safeguarding the Convoy, Professor Christina Victor demonstrates that research over decades has found a fairly constant proportion (6-13%) of older people feel lonely often or always.
On 3 December, the Campaign to End Loneliness and Age UK Oxfordshire launched a new research report with the latest evidence on loneliness, health and wellbeing. It compiles international research on the impact of loneliness on health and quality of life, and identifies triggers and interventions:Loneliness – The State We’re In
A number of researchers from a variety of academic disciplines contributed to this publication. Many of them also spoke at the first international research conference on loneliness, ‘What do we know about loneliness?‘, held on the 9th and 10th of July 2012 in Oxford.
Below are some quotes from each researcher’s paper in our launch publication Safeguarding the Convoy:
“the combination of old age and residence in deprived urban neighbourhoods increases the risks of feeling unsafe, dissatisfied and lonely”
- Professor Thomas Scharf
“male loneliness appears to be associated with an evaluation of the relationship with a partner whereas women tended to evaluate relationships with a wider network of people”
- Professor Vanessa Burholt
“about 20 percent of the older population is mildly lonely and another 8 to 10 percent is intensely lonely (Victor, 2005). Intense loneliness appears to be more prevalent among divorcees, (recently) widowed people, those living alone, and those confronted with deteriorating health, and individuals in deprived areas.”
- Dr Jenny de Jong Gierveld et al
“lonely older people are different individuals with different needs and expectations”
- Professor Mima Cattan
You can stay updated on recent research on loneliness and social isolation with the Campaign to End Loneliness Research Bulletins.
Statistics on loneliness and social isolation
Other research carried out over the last few decades has consistently shown that 10% of older people feel always or very lonely. Recent estimates place the number of people aged over 65 who are often or always lonely at over 1 million.
The percentage of the population who feel isolated and are therefore, at risk of loneliness is significantly larger: