You may find yourself living alone in old age, which can cause loneliness and social isolation.
You may become lonely and socially isolated for many reasons, often through retirement, losing friends and loved ones or by suffering from a disability or illness. See the NHS Choices website for more information about loneliness in older people.
Depression and a general decline in physical and mental health can be the result of isolation, and some older people can feel too proud to ask for help. If you are elderly and feel lonely, or know someone who is, there is help available to improve your quality of life.
What can I do to prevent loneliness?
It is important to stay active where possible, which includes leaving the house for at least a few minutes a day if you are able. Many people will be happy to engage in polite conversation if you are positive and friendly.
If you find it difficult to leave your home, consider inviting friends or relatives for tea. More often than not, your family or neighbours will appreciate the invitation to spend time with you.
Alternatively, speak to friends on the phone as a way to keep in touch despite distance. Computers are a good alternative to physical interaction too, as you can send emails, messages and even use video chat services.
Where can I go for advice?
Loneliness can be damaging to mental and physical wellbeing, and can affect a person's quality of life. If you are feeling lonely or are worried about someone who is, NHS Choices provides practical advice and suggests support services that can help.