The Campaign to End Loneliness says that the stigma of loneliness is isolating thousands of older people in Wales as it launches its work in Pembrokeshire and Carmarthenshire.

  • 9 in 10 people in Pembrokeshire & Carmarthenshire believe loneliness in older age is now ‘more likely than ever
  • Two-thirds of people in Pembrokeshire & Carmarthenshire have suffered with loneliness
  • Nearly two-thirds (63.2%) of people from Pembrokeshire & Carmarthenshire say that admitting you are lonely is difficult
  • Over 80% (80.6%) of over-65s in Pembrokeshire & Carmarthenshire say they would find it hard to admit to feeling lonely because they do not want to be a burden to others
  • But 69% of people say they want to help address the loneliness crisis
  • The Wellbeing of Wales report found that 17% of people in Wales are lonely
  • Recent research from the London School of Economics also shows that it pays to tackle loneliness – every £1 invested in tackling loneliness can save £3 in health costs

The Campaign to End Loneliness has revealed that 9 in 10 people in Pembrokeshire & Carmarthenshire believe loneliness in older age is more likely than ever – with almost two-thirds saying that admitting to loneliness is difficult.

This research comes as the Campaign hosts an event to launch the first phase of its work to tackle loneliness in Pembrokeshire. The event is on Friday September 29th in Letterston Memorial Hall. The Carmarthenshire launch will take place on Thursday 5th October at Ffwrnes Theatre in Llanelli.

The Pembrokeshire launch is being held in partnership with Ageing Well in Wales (the Campaign’s local partner) and Pembrokeshire County Council. The event will feature a series of talks on ageing, loneliness, resilience and technology, as well as workshops exploring the role of the Campaign to End Loneliness in Wales. The Campaign is supported with National Lottery funding from the Big Lottery Fund.

Claire O’Shea, Campaign Manager for the Campaign to End Loneliness, said:

“We are thrilled to be launching the Campaign to End Loneliness in Wales. Pembrokeshire and Carmarthenshire are leading the way in tackling loneliness amongst older people – and we are delighted to be part of this.

“But, as our research shows, there is still much to do to end loneliness, thanks to the sheer scale of the problem. The health impacts of loneliness are devastating; it is as bad for you as smoking 15 cigarettes a day and worse for you than obesity. Most worrying, however, is the popular view in Pembrokeshire and Carmarthenshire that loneliness in older age is more likely than ever – that loneliness is inevitable. We’re here to challenge that.

“We will be assessing loneliness in Pembrokeshire and Carmarthenshire, and working to find solutions with the local communities. We want to break down that stigma of loneliness – a stigma that means 80% of older people fear admitting to being lonely. And, with the majority of our communities wanting to address the loneliness epidemic, we know that we can do this. Together, we can end loneliness.”

Sarah Rochira, Older People’s Commissioner for Wales and Chair of Ageing Well in Wales, said:

“Loneliness has a devastating impact upon older people’s lives and tackling this modern epidemic must remain a key priority in Wales. It is therefore vital that good practice and initiatives like those being launched in Pembrokeshire and Carmarthenshire, which make a real difference to the lives of older people, become the standard across Wales so that people can easily access the help and support they may need.”

Cllr Simon Hancock, Older Persons’ Champion for Pembrokeshire, said:

“We have a vision of active and resourceful communities working together in Pembrokeshire to connect people, and we are very supportive of the many organisations here which are making a real difference – from community exercise classes to knitting groups, friendship circles, and more. We look forward to working with the Campaign to End Loneliness to develop new projects, and sharing the learning and evaluations across these programmes.”