Extreme loneliness can increase an older person's chance of dying prematurely, Age UK said as it warned that more than a million people aged 65 and over admit to usually feeling lonely.
Loneliness not only makes life miserable for older people, it is also really bad for their health making them more vulnerable to illness and disease.
It is time to take loneliness seriously and that's why we're asking everyone to take action by donating today to help us carry on supporting older people to make the most out of later life.
Voluntary sector services like Age UK's have never been more important because funding cuts are forcing many of the local services that help older people stay connected, such as lunch clubs, to scale down or close.
Two in five pensioners consider television to be their main form of company, Age UK said, as it warned that for the first time, more than a million people aged 65 and over admit to feeling lonely "always or often."
The charity described loneliness as a "huge issue" in Britain.
It's poll of 2,000 British adults of 65 and over found that 37% said their TV is their main form of company.
Elderly people who become active will reap "significant health benefits" by averting major ill health and degenerative diseases like dementia, new research has found.
According to a wide ranging study in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, pensioners who took part in moderate or vigorous physical activity once a week were three times more likely to be healthy agers.
The study, which looked at OAPs over an eight year period, said older regular exercisers were three times more likely to be healthy. Researchers said the benefits were clear for those who became active later in life:
"Sustained physical activity was prospectively associated with improved healthy ageing - absence of disease, freedom from disability, high cognitive and physical functioning, good mental health."