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Pastor: "Huge problem" no-one speaks about elderly loneliness

Wed 08 Jun 2016
By Hannah Tooley

A Christian pastor who works older people told Premier it is serious issue that no-one speaks about loneliness. 

James Prentice, pastor at Life Church Lincoln runs a group especially aimed at over 50's, and he was speaking on Premier's News Hour after more than 1,000 people were asked by campaign group End Loneliness how they felt.

James Prentice said: "It's a huge problem, and I think it's the responsibility of many of us to try to break down some barriers - not only so that people will start talking about it, but also so that people can actually be given practical ways of making friends and meeting new people and combatting that loneliness."

The report is warning that isolation has become an epidemic and claims that elderly people who are lonely are not speaking up about their experience.

One-in-ten of those over-65 who are asked (more than one-million people) feel chronically lonely all or most of the time, and 92% of them said they were scared to admit they are lonely.

The numbers:

1,000 people asked

92% afraid to say they are lonely

1/10 over 65's are chronically lonely 

Now, five charities, including Age UK and Independent Age, want it to be considered a health issue.

The report shows many older people are suffering in silence because they fear being negatively judged by others.

Mr Prentice said that if loneliness can be proven, people might listen more.

"If science can establish more of a link, that can make people take it more seriously. I think one of the issues is people will think often people who're lonely are just being a bit needy or they're just being people who are just trying to get others attention when maybe they don't need it as much as they think they do," he said.

"But if you can actually prove in some way actually this person is lonely, and their loneliness is having a serious impact on their health, I think it may make people take it more seriously."

Listen to Premier's Alex Williams speak to James Prentice on Premier's News Hour here:

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