Over Christmas and New Year many of us put in extra effort to see loved ones, but it is worth remembering that for some this is a lonely time of year. A recent poll carried out by the BBC revealed that 10% of over 65s spend Christmas mostly alone.
Of course, loneliness can be an issue at any age – the Mental Health Foundation found in 2010 over a third of people aged 18-34 worried about feeling lonely.
On the surface feeling lonely may not seem like a big concern, but it is in fact a serious public health issue that should be addressed all year round. Loneliness and isolation has been described as being as ‘bad for you’ as ‘smoking 15 cigarettes a day’ and ‘worse than obesity’ by health secretary Jeremy Hunt.
Feeling lonely has also been linked to the development of a number of health problems, such as depression, dementia and high blood pressure. So, how can we combat loneliness? The