How to help a lonely older person

Everyone gets lonely. You might not be, but someone you know could be. 3.9 million older people in the UK say the television is their main company. Over 2.2 million people aged 75 and older living alone – that’s over half.  Those are huge figures, and with numbers like that, what more encouragement do you need to reach out to someone?

If you know a lonely older person but aren’t sure how to reach out to them, or what you can do to help, we’ve put together some tips and advice to help.

Ask how they feel

By talking to them about how they’re feeling, you might find out that something else is troubling them. Try not to make assumptions about why they are lonely, there are lots of reasons someone might feel lonely.

Show them you’re available

Keeping in touch over the phone, email or in person lets them know you’re there when they need support. Don’t give up if they don’t call or visit you in return, it might be difficult for the person to reach out.

Offer to take them out

It might be hard for an older person to get out and about. If you can help it might be nice to get them out of the house. Even if you can pop them to see a friend or to a local cafe. There might be a local charity you can reach out to if you don’t have the resources to take the person out yourself. Remember to ask the person, don’t force them into anything.

Be dependable

Try not to miss your calls or visits, it can be very disappointing for someone who might not have much contact with anyone else. Being reliable means they know you’ll be there for them.

Ask for help

If you’re busy or live far away, don’t feel you need to do everything yourself. There might be a friend, neighbour, relative or charity who can regularly call and visit the person who is lonely.

It’s Loneliness Awareness Week and we’re putting together tips and advice for how you can help or how to deal with loneliness. Find out more information about loneliness awareness week from the Marmalade Trust or Campaign To End Loneliness.

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