The Campaign to End Loneliness is calling for improved support for men in older age following new figures that show they are more isolated than older women due to less contact with their children.
A new report published today shows that more than 1.2 million men over 50 say they are suffering from isolation and reveals nearly a quarter (23%) have contact with their children less than once a month, compared to 15 per cent of older women. More worryingly, men have less contact with their children as they get older compared with women who spend more time with their children as they age.
The Campaign to End Loneliness is warning that loneliness amongst men is likely to rise as the new report, co-published by Independent Age and the International Longevity Centre – UK (ILC-UK), shows the number of older men living alone is rising – by 2030 numbers in England and Wales are projected to be 1.5 million, a huge increase of 65%.
The Campaign says that social isolation and loneliness is a serious public health issue and is calling for services that support older people to be more engaging for men. Existing services are often more suited to women such as coffee mornings and befriending services.
Laura Ferguson, Director for the Campaign to End Loneliness, says: “It’s worrying that men have less contact with their children as they get older, making them more isolated than women. This report indicates men tend to be more dependent on their wives for social contact, making older men particularly vulnerable to experiencing isolation after the loss of a partner.”
“We also hear from many charities across the nation that they struggle to find, and engage with, lonely older men. With social isolation and loneliness posing a serious risk to their health, local activities must be more tailored to suit men’s interests and needs.”