Scotland’s loneliest older people

Monday June 10th 2024

Elderly People Unsplash
This View has been written by Jenny Willott, CEO Re-engage

During this Loneliness Awareness Week, 10th to 16th June, some 600,000 older people will have left their home just once, and around one in five of them will have had no contact with family, friends or neighbours. 

When I recently took over as CEO of Re-engage, the only UK-wide charity focusing on reducing loneliness and isolation among people aged 75 and over, I was horrified to discover the extent of the problem. 

Having listened to the stories of some of those we support through our 65 Scottish monthly free tea parties and activity groups as well as our call befriending services, I now understand just how damaging loneliness is for many older people.

One, 89-year-old Alice, told me:
“I’m at home every day. It’s like being in prison.” 

With around half of those aged 75 and over in England living alone- that’s two million people- it’s clear to see the mountain we have to climb. Every week nearly 100 older people are referred to us for support. 

Re-engage plays a vital role in combatting this problem through its 9,000 volunteers who collectively spend hundreds of hours every month to support the 6,900 older people who use our services and who would otherwise have no lifeline to the outside world. 

Nearly nine in ten of the older people we help say joining Re-engage has had a positive impact on their lives and they have made new friends. 

Next year is Re-engage’s 60th anniversary, generous support enables us to continue to run our services in Scotland.

If you know an older person who may benefit from our services or if you would like to volunteer for Re-engage or donate please visit Re-engage: charity supporting older people or call 0800 716543 

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