The reality for many is quite different and it seems that the issue of loneliness is a taboo subject, especially over the festive period when the media is full of stories of merriment and images of families coming together in celebration.
An ageing population is partly responsible for more lonely people than ever before. According to Age UK, there are 1.2m chronically lonely older people in the UK. By that measure it's likely we all know or care about someone who feels lonely.
We are all living increasingly busy lives and it’s difficult for many to find the time to visit older relatives or call in on an elderly neighbour. Perhaps take time this festive period to check in on a senior member of your community, because it’s unlikely they’ll admit to feeling lonely. It can be one of the hardest subjects to raise, as feelings of loneliness bring shame – so very counter to the sociable, populated lives we’re all under pressure to lead.
Changes to the way we make social connections are not only affecting elderly people. According to the Mental Health Foundation, 18-34 year-olds are more likely to feel lonely more often, to worry about feeling alone, and to feel depressed because of loneliness than those over 55. Last Christmas one in 10 people aged between 25 and 34 who took part in a survey by mental health charity Mind said that they had no one to spend the festive period with, compared with one in 20 older people.
There’s no doubt in our minds that these two generations need each other. One of our ambitions at Close to Hand is to help bridge the generation social gap in a bid to banish isolation.
Find out more about how you could become a Home Helper and ease the pangs of loneliness of others and maybe yours too.