Loneliness is also a common emotion and it is likely that, at some point in our lives and whatever our age, we will experience it. Various studies estimating the levels of loneliness in Great Britain show that 5 – 16% of people aged 65 or over report feeling lonely all or most of the time and up to a further 30% say they feel lonely “sometimes”. Loneliness and social isolation are harmful to our health: research shows that lacking social connections is as damaging to our health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day (Holt-Lunstad, 2015).
Risk factors that increase the likelihood of someone experiencing loneliness. These included living in rural environments with poor transport connections, having a lack of family nearby, having a caring responsibility, living on a low income, bereavement, poor mobility, losing hearing and/or sight, and having certain long-term conditions (such as dementia), as well as a range of other possible characteristics, situations, or experiences. Sometimes, a person experiences multiple risk factors simultaneously.
Source – Campaign to End Loneliness
How often would you say you take part in hobbies or social activities?
Do you have any particular hobbies or outside interests that you enjoy doing?
Do you have a network of friendships and relationships?
- Is this via telephone contact, social media or in person etc
Would you feel comfortable asking for help at any time from friends of family?
Would you say that your relationships are as you would want them to be?
- Facilitate a conversation about loneliness, using the skills and qualities of empathy, openness, warmth and respect, and help people to understand their own circumstances and plan their own solutions.
- Allow the person to tell their story, to review their loneliness and what is happening now.
What would you like to be doing differently, and how would that make your feel?
Can I give you some information to help support the opportunities we discussed?
Would these things make a difference to you?
- The goals should be the individual’s
- Help the person identify the incentives in tackling their loneliness: what benefits will accrue for the person? Are there factors that make change necessary?
Although most people need some kind of social contact to maintain good mental health, everyone has different social needs. The person may be someone who is content with a few close friends, or they may need a large group of varied acquaintances to feel satisfied.
State that the simplest way to ease feelings of loneliness can be to try to meet more, or different, people.
- Can they think of anything they are interested in, a class or a group they have heard of, that could help connect them with new people? See Useful contacts for ideas of how to find groups
- Volunteering is a good way of meeting people. Helping others can also really help improve mental health. See useful contacts for organisations that can help someone find local volunteering opportunities.
Loneliness in Older People
- The Silver Line is the only free confidential helpline providing information, friendship and advice to older people, open 24 hours a day, every day of the year. Call 0800 470 8090. The Silver Line can also put you in contact with community activities in your local area
- Age UK has a befriending service to support loneliness in later life, this is where a volunteer visits an older person once a week in their own home. There is also telephone befriending Telephone befriending, where a volunteer befriender will phone an older person.
- NHS Choices has a range of advice on Loneliness including volunteering, continuing education and how to engage with social media and computers.
Loneliness in Younger People
- It is recognised that Loneliness is not something that is exclusive to older adult, indeed many younger adults in particular can experience loneliness and a recent report from the office for national statistics highlighted Britain as the loneliness capital of Europe.
- Whilst on the outside young people can be very well connected on social media but if this replaces face-to-face contact then it can add to a feeling of loneliness. Some people also present an idealised version of themselves online and we expect to have social lives like those portrayed in the media.
- Helplines can reduce loneliness, at least in the short term
- The Samaritans are available around the clock, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. This number is FREE to call on 116 123
- Get Connected is a free confidential helpline for young people, where people can seek help with emotional and mental health issues often linked to loneliness.
- There are also support services on websites such as Mind's that can remind you you're not alone.
- It doesn’t really matter who you talk to first. Some ideas would include: a friend, family member, anonymous listening service like Nightline or the Samaritans, student union welfare rep, personal tutor, students support services staff member, counsellor, or doctor. Decide who is the best person for you to talk to first. Be realistic about what each person can offer. If it doesn’t work out, try someone else. Talk to more than one person.
Age UK - Barnsley
Come along to one of our groups or clubs where we offer support, help and advice or just a place where you can be with like minded people or people in similar situations as yourself.
Tel: 01226 776820 We are open Monday to Friday 9.30am - 3.30pm
My Best Life Barnsley - (GP Referral Only)
Our advisors work with people to connect them with local non-medical support. They can visit you at home, or wherever you feel
most comfortable, at a time that suits you best – including evenings and weekends They’ll work with you to put together your own action plan that can help with a range of things, including:
• Improve mental wellbeing
• Manage your physical health and symptoms
• Lead a healthier lifestyle
• Improve your home environment
• Get involved in your local community
• Maximise your income and access benefits
• Find work, training and volunteering opportunities
Be Well Barnsley –Support for all ages to lead healthier and happier lives. We will work with you to set goals and motivate you along the way and can spend time talking through the challenges your facing, providing information you can trust.
Tel: 0800 0169 133
Web: - https://bewell-barnsley.com/
Age UK Bradford and District
Age UK Bradford and District Wellbeing and Engagement team provides support across the district to individuals and communities at risk of social isolation and loneliness for people over the age of 50. For more information or support please contact a member of our Customer Service Team.
Tel: 01302 812 190
Doncaster Mind offers Counselling, befriending and wellbeing service to residents
b:Friend matches volunteer befrienders with socially isolated older neighbours and the aim, through weekly visits for a cuppa and a chat, is to reduce loneliness in the community) www.letsbfriend.org.uk , 07749 955349, firstname.lastname@example.org
MHA Doncaster Communities Live at Home Scheme
Tel: 01302 769898
A befriending scheme aimed at tackling isolation and promoting independence and wellbeing
Peer support provided by the group to help people live independently. For further information contact Kelly Hicks (email@example.com)
Contact your GP for referral or for more information visit: http://www.talkingsense.org/how-we-can-help/the-talking-shop/
Speak to your GP, Community nurse or Pharmacist for information on the Doncaster Social Prescribing Service.
Your Life Doncaster
Search for over 1500 groups and activities in Doncaster to help you live independently: https://www.yourlifedoncaster.co.uk
East Riding Emotional Wellbeing Service - (Self-Referral or via GP)
Providing support to people with common and emotional mental health difficulties. Services range from self-help therapies, to psycho educational courses and one-to-one support
Tel: 01482 301701
Online portal https://iaptportal.co.uk/erew.html
East Riding Health Trainer Service
Healthtrainers provide personal support and motivation to adults across the East Riding of Yorkshire who wish to lead a healthier lifestyle.e all have issues in our lives which may affect our health in some way. You may want to get fitter, control your weight, have a healthier diet or quit smoking. You may want to reduce your stress levels or just feel better about yourself.
If you want to become healthier but don’t know where to start, a healthtrainer will be able to help you work out exactly what you want and how to go about it.
Healthtrainers are friendly, understanding and supportive. They will help and encourage you to achieve and maintain a healthier lifestyle.
Tel: 0800 9177752
Connect Well Hull
Provides appointments with Welfare Advisers and Wellbeing Co-ordinators in 27 locations across the city, including GP practices.
Wellbeing co-ordinators can assist you to access support and guidance including groups where you can try something new such as:
- Creative and cultural activities
- Support of management of your physical or emotional health needs
Plus ways to get active, including:
- Healthy living
- Walking groups
- Exercise groups
Tel: 01482 217670
or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Kirklees Health Trainers
You can talk to a Health Trainer to help motivate you to explore what is important to you such as hobbies, leisure or social events
Tel: 01484 414774 and select option 2
Touchstone - Better in Kirklees (Self-Referral of via GP)
Better in Kirklees supports people living with a long-term health condition to become more active and involved in their community. Through Social Prescribing, we connect people to groups and activities close to where they live based on their interests. The service is open to anyone over the age of 18.
Tel: 01924 846 808
Time to Shine
Contact Tel: 0113 244 1697
Time to Shine selects partners across Leeds to deliver unique and creative projects that engage socially isolated people. Time to Shine welcome enquiries to link people to support projects within the Leeds area.
Helpline Leeds Directory
Contact Tel: 0113 3918333
The online directory of older people services available by contacting Leeds Directory to locate a local Neighbourhood Network Scheme, lunch clubs and care services which are community based, locally led organisations that enable older people to live independently and pro-actively participate within their own communities. They offer services that reduce social isolation, provide opportunities for volunteering, act as a “gateway” to advice/information/services promote health and wellbeing.
Age UK Leeds
Contact Tel:0113 389 3004 (Mon - Fri 09:00 - 16:00)
Age UK Leeds offer a range of social care, health and wellbeing services, and digital inclusion projects for older people across Leeds
Friendship at Home
Providing services for older people, which include befriending, social activities, advice, information, support and physical activities.
Support also available from
The Wellbeing Service (North East Lincolnshire Council)
Tel: 01472 325500
Activities for older people including Men in Sheds, coffee mornings, lunch clubs and games groups at Lifestyle Centre, 34a Crosby Road, Scunthorpe, DN15 6SF. Wheelchair accessible Community Transport Service (email email@example.com), home visiting benefits advice service to increase income for over 65s. Free telephone befriending service
Age UK - Rotherham Less Lonely
Age UK offers a Befriending service as well as access to a range of group activities that bring people together
The Age Better website is helping to end loneliness and isolation in Sheffield. Packed with information about local groups, services and activities.
Tel: Adam Batty (0114) 290 0250
Other info: Help on journeys, getting to appointments and being more active. Company to get out of the house and socialise with other people, using public transport or just a walk around your local area.
Tel: Rebecca Lawson (0114) 290 0250
Other info: Chance to talk to a fellow older person about how you’re feeling, and how they coped. A mentor will listen and advise on ways to continue and cope with things.
Tel: Alice Hall (0114) 290 0250
Other info: Intensive counselling for people 50+ who have low mental wellbeing, so they can return to socialising with others.
Friendly Visiting Service
Tel: (0114) 250 5292
Other info: Service offering regular visits from the Sheffield Churches Council for Community Care, to enhance the quality of older people aged 65+.
Telephone Linkine for Carers (TLC)
Tel: Jan (0114) 278 8942
Other info: Offers isolated carers a friendly chat and emotional support. A trained volunteer can call you every couple of weeks if you don’t have the energy to meet others or leave the house.
Community Resources: Sheffield Directory – Loneliness and Isolation
Age UK York provides a befriending service, companionship and support to older people living alone in the community who feel socially isolated and lonely.
Age UK York organises day clubs offering older people an attractive social meeting place, hot lunch, refreshments and interesting activities