A third of over-65s have experienced loneliness – and over one in ten think a pool of new friends would help them feel less lonely
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A quarter of older people would like to make a new pool of friends but have no idea where to start, research has shown.
A survey of 1,000 people aged 65 and over revealed that 30 percent think they have lost the art of small talk as they have got older – and almost half (45 percent) don’t feel like they spend enough time socialising.
Overall, a third of over-65s admitted they have experienced loneliness – a feeling which can cause the decline of both their physical and mental health.
When it comes to why older people would like to make more friends, 16 percent said it was because many of their companions had passed away, while 15 percent believe it would make them feel less lonely.
And 20 percent feel making more friends would give them an excuse to get out of the house more.
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The research was commissioned by Churchill Retirement Living as part of its Friendship Month, where it is encouraging people to visit its developments and see the social element of independent living.
Spencer J McCarthy, Chairman & CEO for the retirement living provider, said: “It is sad to see that so many people over the age of 65 feel like they’re not socialising as much as they would like, or they’re struggling to make new friends.
“With the spare time it brings, retirement provides an opportunity to try new things and meet new people.
“Age shouldn’t be a barrier – if anything it should be an opportunity.
“Joining social clubs, attending community events, volunteering and taking up new hobbies are just a number of ways those who might be lonely or bored can meet like-minded people.”
The study also found that the average over-65 has six friends – with a third seeing their them once or twice per week.
However, 31 percent of those polled via OnePoll admitted they have lost confidence in making friends as they have got older.
The main reason was because they haven’t tried to make friends in so long, while 47 percent feel like they are too old to make new friends, and 44 percent don’t know where to go to meet people.
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And of the over-65s who still work, 28 percent feel they struggle to make friends in the workplace.
Churchill Retirement Living is encouraging people to leave loneliness behind and make new friends, with a £20 Café Nero or Costa voucher on offer to every new visitor who takes a tour of one of its new developments across the country by 17th December.
A spokesman for Churchill Retirement Living added: “We understand the importance of friendship as well as independence – and we do our best to help bring people together.
“Millions of older people across the UK find themselves experiencing loneliness or struggle to find ways to make friends – and social isolation can bring misery when it needn’t be the case.
“We’d encourage, where possible, people who are looking to increase their social interactions to pick up the phone and speak to groups and societies which hold coffee mornings and other events.”