County’s loneliness problem revealed

The extent of loneliness among pensioners in Derbyshire has been revealed.

Figures from the Health and Social Care Information Centre show only 43 per cent of elderly folk in the county said they had as much social contact with other people as they would like.

Nearly five per cent of the county’s OAPs actively described themselves as lonely and isolated.

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Caroline Abrahams, director of Age UK, said: “Being lonely and isolated is not only miserable, it is a real health risk, increasing the possibility of early death.

Disability, poverty, poor health and no access to transport all contribute to older people feeling cut off from their family, friends and local community, leaving many with little or no social interaction.”

Tracey Robbins, policy manager at the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, added: “Loneliness is an issue which affects us all.

“The good news is we are all able to take steps to reduce loneliness. It can be addressed through communities working together on simple, low-cost activities, such as coffee mornings and film clubs.”

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Derbyshire County Council runs various campaigns to tackle loneliness and isolation among elderly and vulnerable people.

These include the Derbyshire Trusted Befriending Network which includes volunteers keeping pensioners company. For more information, call 01283 219761.