Television is main company for two in five pensioners, poll reveals

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TWO IN five pensioners consider their television set to be their main form of company, a charity has warned.

Age UK said that loneliness is a “huge issue” in Britain after a poll released today found that one in 10 people over the age of 65 often or always feel lonely.

The figures added further weight behind The Yorkshire Post’s Loneliness campaign.

Earlier this year, we revealed the heartbreaking scale of loneliness affecting people in the Yorkshire region, with 91,300 older people admitting feeling lonely all of the time or often.

In the Age UK study, 37 per cent of the 2,000 adults surveyed said their television is their main form of company. One in eight said they felt cut off from society and 30 per cent said they would like to go out more often.

It warned that extreme loneliness can increase an older person’s chance of dying prematurely, and urged the public to donate.

“At Age UK we know how devastating loneliness can be for older people and these figures are another reminder of the scale of this issue,” said Age UK’s charity director Caroline Abrahams.

“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.”

l The Yorkshire Post is urging all local authorities to write loneliness into their health and wellbeing strategies - and you can help writing to your local authority. Find out more on www.yorkshirepost.co.uk/loneliness.