The extent - and effects - of loneliness among older people, in the North East, is set to increase. That's according to one ageing expert, who warns that more needs to be done to combat the problem. The charity Contact the Elderly already describes the situation, for some people in the region, as 'desperate.' And, with the population predicted to live longer, there are wider fears about the spread of isolation.
National figures, from Age UK, currently reveal that:
More than a million older people, across the country, are predicted to suffer from loneliness, at one time or another. One of them is Joan, from North Tyneside:
One ageing expert, from Newcastle University, says that loneliness has a negative effect on health:
The charity Contact the Elderly holds regular tea parties for isolated individuals. One of their workers, Valerie Walker, says the situation, for some lonely people, can be severe:
You can see more in a series of special reports, on ITV News Tyne Tees, on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday this week.
Where can I get help?
A variety of organisations offer services to help. Some of those include: