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The Silver Line Over-55s Loneliness Survey

ComRes interviewed 1,126 GB adults aged 55 and over by telephone between 11th and 27th October 2013. Data were weighted to be representative of all GB adults aged 55+ by age, gender and region. ComRes is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules.

Date Published: 25 Nov 2013

Categories: Public and communities | Social | UK


The majority of Britons aged 55+ think that there is not enough support available to people who feel lonely (57%).

When asked directly, 15% of older people admit that they often feel lonely. 

Based on the population of 17.3 million British people aged 55+ from the 2011 Census, this equates to more than 2.5 million older people in Britain often feeling lonely. Given that the survey also reveals that there is a considerable stigma attached to admitting loneliness, this figure may be the tip of the iceberg.

For those who say they feel lonely at times, the activity thought to be most helpful is having a chat on the phone (87%). However 1 in 4 older people (25%) either “never” or “not very often” have a chat on the phone.

And 1 in 3 older people (34%) either “never” or “not very often” meet up for an outing with friends or family (34%).The three most helpful activities to reduce loneliness according to people who feel lonely either often or occasionally are “a chat on the phone” (87%), followed by “a chat over a meal” (83%) and then, “exercise” (68%).

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