Devon Council combats loneliness

From Devon County Council:

Nearly one in every five people aged over 75 in the UK go three months or longer with no one to share a meal with, according to analysis by Bournemouth University’s Ageing and Dementia Research Centre.

That’s one in five people this Christmas with no company to share a meal, or best wishes of the season with.

Estimates suggest that between 15,000 to 19,000 people over 65 in Devon experience intense loneliness. Around 38,000 experience what’s described as mild loneliness.

And yet the largest age group of all to experience loneliness, identified in a recent BBC survey, are younger people aged 16 to 24.

It can lead to health problems, and can be as detrimental to some people as lifelong smoking and alcoholism.

The BBC loneliness survey invited people to describe what has helped them to combat their loneliness.

It’s a personal thing, and not all of the solutions identified work for everyone.

So we’ve come up with an alternative 12 Days of Christmas.

Starting on the 1st December, we’re posting a different clip every other day, running up to Christmas Eve, suggesting a different thing that people can do to combat loneliness – to help themselves, or to help others in their communities.

Our 12 Days of Christmas has ideas to appeal across all ages.

Some might be small things – encouraging people to think of others – but some will take a little more of a concerted effort to lift ones’ self from loneliness.

None though underestimate the scale of the challenge for some.

We’re posting our 12 Days of Christmas on social media, and we’d love people to share them.

As well as these ideas, we have other things that people can do to help themselves or others at devon.cc/loneliness.

And we’d love people to use the hashtags #EndLoneliness and #WeAreDevon to join the conversation.

One in five people sat alone for their Christmas meal this year? There’s time yet to make a difference. There’s time yet to make a friend.

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