Third of grandparents see family just once a month

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NEARLY a third of grandparents only see their grandchildren once a month – or even less frequently – according to a new survey.

The study into loneliness in older people found 32 per cent of over-65s only saw their grandchildren once a month at the most. Charities said yesterday that many lived further from their families, making it “increasingly challenging” to maintain regular contact.

The research also found the same percentage of older people only saw their own children once a fortnight or less. Another study also showed that one in five youngsters is worried about feeling lonely as they get older.

Michelle Mitchell, of Age UK, said: “We already know that loneliness affects over a third of people aged 65-plus in Great Britain. Modern-day life means that more people live further away from loved ones, so seeing older relatives regularly can be increasingly challenging.

“By bringing older and younger people together in their local communities through a new digital service, we hope to go some way in helping to reduce isolation and loneliness across the generations.”

The study, by the charity Age UK, revealed that one in five older people, aged 65 or over, only sees a close friend every two weeks. And 21 per cent of them admitted they found it harder to speak about feeling lonely than any other issue, ­including health and money problems.

Meanwhile, a separate new study for the charity YouthNet showed loneliness crosses generations, with 19 per cent of the young people they spoke to saying it was the thing most fear about the future. More than 1,500 youngsters aged between 16 and 25 were interviewed for the poll.

Emma Thomas, CEO of YouthNet, said: “There is so much that young people can contribute to society and helping older people to benefit from the internet and connect with their families so they feel less isolated is a great example of this.”

Both of the charities have joined forces in a bid to tackle loneliness and isolation across generations.

Age UK research has also ­revealed older people are not necessarily lonely for geographical reasons. On average, ­everyone living in the UK is believed to live less than 65 metres from someone aged 65 or over who is feeling lonely.