The government announcement that a new minister for loneliness Tracey Crouch MP has been appointed will help raise awareness of the growing issue of loneliness in old age says, Chief Executive of Girlings Retirement Rentals, Gillian Girling.
Tracey Crouch will continue the work started by the late MP Jo Cox to tackle loneliness, an issue which is affecting nine million in the UK, both young and old. A report by the Jo Cox from the Loneliness Commission highlighted that loneliness can reduce life expectancy and be as harmful as smoking 15 cigarettes a day.
Gillian Girling said, “Older people especially are vulnerable to loneliness, as many live alone and can spend weeks without seeing another person or having any social interaction.”
Age UK estimates 32% of people aged 65+ and over live alone – about 3.64 million people across the UK. The number of people aged 65+ is projected to rise by over 40 per cent (40.77%) in the next 17 years to over 16 million, and by 2030 it’s expected the number of people aged 75 and over will double.
“Whilst it’s not just older people that are affected by loneliness they are the group that can find it the most difficult. They may have lost a long-life partner and can have difficulty adapting to living alone or have restricted mobility which can make it harder for them to get out and access places to socialise and meet people.
“A Demos report[iv] last year in conjunction with retirement house builder, McCarthy & Stone, found that those who live in retirement housing tend to feel less lonely than their peers in mainstream housing. We have many single tenants who have moved into retirement housing because of the social benefits and ready-made communities on offer. Most developments have communal lounges and gardens, and many also organise social events and outings.”
“Other benefits of downsizing and renting a retirement apartment include freeing up capital, and not having to worry about the upkeep a property and unexpected bills. Most of our properties come with assured (lifetime) tenancies, offering security of tenure and peace of mind, which is very important for older people and a 24-hour emergency call line for emergencies.”