Millions of older people are loneliest in the summer, as visits from loved ones decrease
Research of 1,400 retired people discovered 27 per cent feel disconnected when loved ones’ social schedules ramp up as the temperatures rise, leaving less time for them to check in.
And with the country experiencing record temperatures this summer, 43 per cent are also struggling in the heat, which can cause them to become isolated from their family and friends.
More than half of retired people believe people popping around is a lifeline when they are feeling secluded in the summer.
It also emerged 57 per cent think people talk more about loneliness in older people during winter than the summer months, with 62 per cent believing isolation during the warmest time of year is just as big an issue.
And, despite the average respondent living with two people, 58 per cent said even when surrounded by others, they can sometimes still feel alone.
The research was commissioned by Specsavers Home Visits to support its #GenerationWOW campaign, which aims to give older people a platform to pass on their skills and life experience to others.
Katie James, a director and optometrist for the service, which offers free at-home eye tests for those who are eligible, said: “During the summer months when people typically have more plans, it’s easy to forget older people may be missing out on valuable interaction with loved ones as a result.
“The research has shown there is a hidden issue around loneliness in older people during this period.
“And with the days being longer, no doubt it can often feel quite a lonely time for many.”
Research highlights a hidden problem
The study also found 62 per cent of those polled believe people popping around is a lifeline when they are feeling secluded in the summer.
While 47 per cent have tried joining social clubs – either locally or online – to curb their solitude.
But 22 per cent are homebound for long periods in the summer as they struggle to fill the days, even if they would normally be able to leave the house alone.
Nearly one in six (14 per cent) will go a week without having a face-to-face conversation with someone close to them, with 40 per cent sometimes going multiple days during the summer without a chat in person.
But while 41 per cent would like to make more friends, 16 per cent find this difficult, according to the OnePoll data.
Boredom can set in for 26 per cent when they go longer than usual without having a meaningful conversation, while 19 per cent experience feelings of sadness.
Despite their emotional state, six in 10 only want to be visited by relatives if they want to, as they don’t want to feel like a burden.
Katie James, from Specsavers Home Visits, which is also launching an at-home hearing service in areas of the UK, added: “Even a small conversation that might appear insignificant could have a huge impact on an older person’s day.
“Hopefully this research goes some way to highlighting a hidden problem, and readers will use this as a reminder to pick up the phone or visit an older relative who might be hiding their feelings of loneliness.
“Our teams look to give those who are housebound some much needed face-to-face interaction while providing an important service which helps them maintain their quality of life.”