The Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt will highlight the "national shame" of as many as 800,000 people in England who are "chronically lonely" in a speech later today.
He will tell the National Children and Adults Services: "Some five million people say television is their main form of company - that's 10% of the population.
"We know there is a broader problem of loneliness that in our busy lives we have utterly failed to confront as a society.
"Each and every lonely person has someone who could visit them and offer companionship.
"A forgotten million who live amongst us - ignored to our national shame."
A 'forgotten million' elderly people suffer from chronic loneliness and social isolation, to 'our national shame', Jeremy Hunt said today.
More than a million old people experience chronic loneliness, but there are some simple things that can help defeat these sad feelings.
Winifred Green, 88, lives alone and until recently would go for weeks without speaking to anyone.