Call to target loneliness in older people
Loneliness is an increasing issue faced by men aged 75 and over in the UK and a failure to plan social care provision can make their isolation more acute, according to research.
More than a third (36%) of British men aged over 75 spend more than 12 hours a day without any company, the study by the WRVS has found.
With medical experts and older people's advocates agreeing that social isolation is strongly linked to poor health outcomes, the research underlines the need for financial planning to focus on how to pay for care to help mitigate the risk of loneliness.
Being in a financial position to pay for care in the home or in a residential care setting can help to ease older people's minds and those of their families as well.
The WRVS survey revealed that men are more likely to suffer from loneliness than women, and that it is most often the result of the death of a partner or their friends.
The organisation called for volunteers to join its befriending service, after 85% of men who admitted to feeling in need of companionship said they feel better after seeing friends or family members.
David McCullough, chief executive of WRVS, said: "Given the stigma attached to admitting to being lonely and needing help, this may even be an optimistic snapshot.
"We know that without our volunteers, visiting people in their homes, many older people wouldn't see another person or even have a conversation from one week to the next and this can lead to debilitating feelings of extreme loneliness.
"That's why we are calling for more people to come forward to volunteer and spend just a couple of hours a week, or whatever they can spare, to make a huge difference to the lives and wellbeing of older people in the community."