More than 300,000 of the UK’s over 65s are thought to be “chronically lonely”, a new research shows.
The findings suggest that loneliness is a silent killer which affects the country’s elderly.
According to Age UK, more than 2 million over 75s live alone, with more than a million saying they go longer than a month without speaking to a neighbour, family member or a friend.
The charity is urging people to look closer to home and reach out to elderly neighbours and relatives, striking up conversations and friendships with them.
90-year-old Muriel Chrisp has lived on her own for 16 years and only ever sees the postman once a day.
Although she would never complain and ask for help, she would still appreciate it, as she really misses talking to someone.
Newcastle born Muriel says she likes to keep herself busy as much as she can, although her mobility is not the best anymore and she faces daily severe bouts of pain caused by debilitating arthritis.
Muriel said: “I like to keep the television on during the day, the familiar noises and voices keep me company.”
Loneliness is something that will be affecting someone near you and small gestures can make a huge difference to the lives of the elderly, and the Age UK message is to try and help the elderly around us.
A neighbour of Muriel’s sets up Skype calls between her and her family abroad in Australia once a week.
With just one simple “hello” or “how are you?” you could brighten up the day of your elderly neighbour without even knowing it, so be sure to do your bit to bring the smallest piece of happiness to the lives of those most in need of it.