Loneliness in later life: a growing epidemic

With almost 75% of older people in the UK identifying as lonely and more than half of those saying they have never spoken to anyone about how they feel, loneliness is a growing epidemic that can no longer be swept under the carpet.


In reality, 1.2 million older people are chronically lonely and, with the population aging, this statistic is only expected to rise. And, according to the UK’s top GP, there is an increased number of patients visiting their family doctor because they are suffering from loneliness and want some human contact – ultimately adding to the pressures the NHS faces.


"What does it feel like to be old and alone?"

Credit: Channel 4 News


Not only can loneliness and social isolation lead to mental health problems like depression, stress, and a lack of self-esteem, it can also be more harmful than obesity, and just as damaging as smoking 15 cigarettes a day. Loneliness increases the likelihood of mortality by 26% (Holt-Lunstad, 2015).


The facts: loneliness in later life


But it doesn’t have to be this way…!


Loneliness and isolation are not inevitable parts of ageing. With your support, together, we can tackle and help to reduce loneliness and social isolation for older people across the UK whether it’s through our Live at Home schemes, befriending (shown below) and chaplaincy services or music therapy programme.



But with no statutory funding this essential support can only be made possible by fundraising and donations from amazing people like you. 




Live at Home Schemes aim to tackle loneliness in later life by providing a variety of community activities that promote social inclusion including exercise classes and day trips, lunch and breakfast clubs, assisted shopping and befriending services.


Music is truly magical - it can alleviate isolation and the symptoms for those living with dementia by helping to unlock special memories and express emotions and feelings that other forms of communication cannot, even if the individual is no longer able to speak or respond to other people’s words.


A smile and a shared joke, a chat in the corridor, a caring hug or just holding someone’s hand quietly when needed is all part of Chaplain’s day to ensure personal well-being and enable older people to live life to the full.


We'll make every penny you raise go further to connect older people in communities that care and reduce loneliness and isolation, whether it's through attending a Live at Home Scheme, benefiting from award-winning music therapy or receiving support from a chaplain.


MHA provides 57 Live at Home Schemes across England Scotland and Wales that promote social inclusion through a variety of services tailored to local need.


Over 4,000 volunteers with different skills and backgrounds help MHA do more. Our volunteers are vital to our success and do so much to help enrich the lives of older people in our care.