MPs Highlight Plight of Millions of Lonely Older People
More than two million pensioners across the country could be suffering physical and mental health problems as a result of being lonely.
Today (Dec 3) MPs across the country are joining forces with former Care Services Minister Paul Burstow and the Campaign to End Loneliness to highlight loneliness as a major health and care issue that should be taken seriously by government and local organisations in 2013.
MPs from all parties will be given a campaign pack on how to identify loneliness in their area and advice on supporting older constituents in need of help.
According to national research – around 10 per cent of the over 65s say they are lonely or very lonely, and another 20% are occasionally lonely. This means that there could be up to 2.4 million older people across the country who are lonely at any one time.
To highlight the plight of older constituents who are lonely in the run-up to Christmas, Paul Burstow MP said:
“As a Minister I recognised loneliness as having a big impact on people’s quality of life. In my work now as a London MP I know there are up to 300,000 lonely older people suffering in silence across the capital – and this is a scandal.
If we don’t start to champion loneliness as a health and care issue, elderly people across the country, will continue to have their lives cut short.
“This is why I am taking neighbourhood action in my constituency of Sutton and Cheam and urging other MPs to join the Campaign to End Loneliness – so they can take the lead in strengthening community ties in their constituency in order to improve public health.”
Laura Ferguson at Campaign to End Loneliness said:
“MPs need to know how many about the health and personal problems loneliness causes to their constituents: it is hidden and unless those in positions of leadership are asking questions about how best to help people who are lonely, those who are most isolated can be forgotten.
“Finding those who are lonely is vital at times like Christmas, but their lives must be helped all year-round, both one to one, in their neighbourhoods and by authorities making decisions about our health.
“Responsibility for addressing this health problem lies with those making decisions about the health of the whole population in every local area.”
Case studies are available for print interviews in Bristol and for broadcast interviews in Sutton. Call Jenny Ousbey on 02072191105 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more details.
For more information on the campaign packs for MPs go to: http://www.campaigntoendloneliness.org.uk/campaigns/constituency/