One in three elderly people 'suffers loneliness'

One in three elderly people suffers loneliness, a report has found Credit: Niall Carson/PA Wire

More than a third of older people are suffering from loneliness, living with neighbours they barely know only feet away, two leading charities have said.

It is estimated that over three million older people are lonely in the UK and it’s predicted that figure could easily double as the population ages and welfare cuts start to bite.

Older people aren't necessarily lonely for geographical reasons, two leading charities have said.

On average we're all just 126 steps or 65 metres - from someone aged 65 or over who is feeling lonely, the report added.

Similarly, young people are facing huge challenges which can lead to isolation in today's tough climate such as high unemployment and negative perceptions of youth.

The Internet is a vital tool in tackling isolation and loneliness, the charities found.

More than a third of older people aged 65 or over - who admitted to feeling lonely - have said that keeping in contact with family and friends via the web helped relieve feelings of isolation.

70% of young people aged 16-25 said they use the Internet every day to contact friends and family.

Age UK and YouthNet are raising money for computer classes for the elderly which will be taught by young people.

700 young volunteers will be given the opportunity to develop their confidence and learn new skills by sharing their digital experience with 10,000 older people in their local communities.

How to deal with loneliness: Olive's story

Olive is 83 and was widowed 30 years ago when her husband died of a heart attack. She bought up three children on her own. She now lives alone in a small flat.

For more information visit or call 0800 169 87 87 or email Read the full report on