Last week Jeremy Hunt, Health Secretary announced that local councils will map the areas where loneliness is high. Therefore the government can ensure better care can be targeted for those who need it, including older people.

Research shows that loneliness can actually affect health.

  • It increases heart disease
  • Puts people at greater risk of blood clots and dementia
  • It makes them likely to exercise less and drink more.
  • Socially isolated and lonely adults are also more likely to undergo early admission into care.

Initially on hearing this article, we were unsure how loneliness could be ‘measured’. However with the use of national statistics, councils will be able to compare data on how many people live alone in each county over a certain age. Then collect their feelings on how lonely or isolated they feel. We will soon see which county in the UK has the most lonely and socially isolated people living it in. How upsetting is that to think about!

The Chair of Silver line, Esther Rantzen CBE said that loneliness creates a loss of confidence, an erosion of self esteem, so that the front door becomes as solid as a brick wall and as impossible to break through’.

The good news is that, ‘the silver line’ will be piloting from the end of November for three months and then launched nationally next year. This will offer advice, information and friendship. We will ensure we will keep everyone up to date when this service begins locally in Gloucestershire.

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