Loneliness is something that affects different people in diverse ways. While you don’t need to be by yourself to feel lonely, it is possible to feel lonely when you are surrounded by many people, there are concerns about the impact that living life alone is having on a growing number of people.
In 2017, the group of males that had the most people living by themselves was the 45 to 64 age group, with close to 1.3 million men living alone. For the same age group for women, there were 1.1 million women living alone. The age group with the highest number of women living alone was the 75 and older group, with 1.6 million. It is believed that the longer life expectancy experienced by women has had an impact on these men while the increase in divorce rates has led to a rise in the increase of people aged between 45 and
While the share of single-people households in the UK declined between 2006 and 2014, the situation has been on the rise since then, and it is an issue that many professionals have noticed with concern.
There are nine million lonely people in the United Kingdom
A recent study highlighted by the Campaign To End Loneliness states that there are nine million people in the United Kingdom who are classed as lonely, and four million of these people are classed as elderly. Loneliness is cited as a major, if not the biggest, problem these people face in life. Lacking friendship and support presents a challenge in many everyday aspects, and there is a need to ensure that people who require support and guidance can receive it.
- A survey taken with over 1,000 GPs indicated the loneliness that many people, with findings including:
- More than 75% of GPs stating that they spoke to between one and five lonely people every day
- Around 10% of GPs stating they spoke to between six and ten lonely people every day
- 4% of GPs stating they spoke with more than ten lonely people a day
If you consider that on an average day, a GP will see between 30 to 40 patients, loneliness is the main factor in why so many people seek medical assistance. Therefore, finding ways to minimise loneliness is crucial. Making people feel less lonely will provide many people with a better quality of life, but it will also remove a significant amount of workload from medical professionals.
More must be done to support GPs and patients
In the UK, the NHS is under considerable pressure, and there is a need to work as effectively and as efficiently as possible. Freeing up GPs time would allow for more effective and efficient support in the provision of healthcare.
There is also the fact that many GPs feel as though they lack the tools or skills required to help patients who are suffering from loneliness. The same survey found only 13% of GPs stating they were confident enough to deal with this matter, and this means that far too many people across the country are not receiving support that will make a massive difference to their health and well-being.
The impact of loneliness is nothing to new to social workers, who have witnessed the effects of loneliness in the people they provide care with. With people living for longer, the issue of loneliness is likely to become a bigger issue in the UK, and there is a need to find solutions that offer support to vulnerable people.