Local MEP Louise Bours has welcomed a campaign launched by the Friends of the Elderly, to encourage people to initiate “everyday interactions” with older neighbours and family members to help combat loneliness.
“This initiative – Be A Friend – is aimed at helping reduce the projected increase in the number of older people feeling lonely and I whole-heartedly support this move.
“Research by the charity shows that the number of older people feeling lonely will rise by 40% by 2030 and it anticipates that around seven million over 60s would be reporting loneliness in 2030, compared to 5.25 million today.
“It has also found that eight in ten people do not have regular contact with older people and more than half feel they do not know their neighbours well enough to have a conversation with them,” said Ms Bours, UKIP Euro-MP.
“These are alarming statistics and we all need to do what we can to help combat this problem. The days when everyone knew their neighbours have sadly gone but we can all try to do our bit to foster such community spirit.
“The study shows that the increasing shift by organisations including utility companies to carrying out their activities via the web will mean hundreds of thousands of pensioners being virtually cut off.
“While we are all familiar with ‘silver surfers’ the web has left many other older people out in the cold and this in itself is adding to their isolation in the community.
Many people spend increasing amounts of time on their computers, tablets, mobiles etc and have less interaction with their neighbours and local communities.
“We should all try to be a friend to those we meet, particularly the elderly,” she added.