Loneliness is consistently presumed to be a specific ‘social problem’, which accompanies old age and growing older. Ninety per cent of the general population of Britain feel that loneliness is particularly a problem associated with old age. Data concerning the prevalence of loneliness amongst the population aged 65 and over are provided from a quantitative survey of 999 people across Great Britain using a special module commissioned from the ONS Omnibus survey. The overall self-reported prevalence of loneliness shows little change in the post-war period and challenges the stereotype that the problem of loneliness and isolation has become more prevalent. Socio-demographic and health factors were associated with loneliness but contact with family and friends was not. Both quantitative and qualitative data sets illustrate the importance of loss as a theme underpinning experiences of loneliness. Further analysis of these data offers the potential to develop a better understanding of what loneliness really is, what it means to those who experience it may offer the potential to develop interventions and strategies to ‘protect’ older people from this problem.
Quality in Ageing and Older Adults – Pier Professional
Published: Mar 1, 2002