As Age UK launches its No one should have no one to turn to campaign, new YouGov research for the Charity has found that 2.65 million older people feel they have no one to turn to for help and support.
The campaign kicked off on the 7 November with a powerful new film highlighting some of the challenges that people often have to deal with in later life but which are so much harder to bear if you are facing them alone. These include coping with bereavement, tackling loneliness, getting the social care you need and managing health problems like dementia.
The survey found that a quarter of older people who felt they had no one to turn tosaid this left them feeling lonely (24 per cent), whilst one in five felt isolated (22 per cent) or depressed (20 per cent).
That’s why Age UK is urging people to support its campaign and donate to help ensure that the Charity’s essential services, such as the free Age UK Advice Line, can continue to be there for older people facing the challenges of later life alone.
Age UK’s Advice Line is a free, confidential phone service for older people, their families, friends, and carers. It is staffed by a team of expert advisers and open every day of the year (8am–7pm). Last year the Advice Live receivedin excess of 210,000 calls– on average 602 calls per day. Its advisers gave callers hundreds of hours of free advice and support every week on issues such as mobility problems, staying independent at home, managing health issues and forms of cognitive decline,anddealing with money worries.
The Charity’s new film tells an honest story about how this service can help older people who are struggling and features one of Age UK’s trained advisers, there to provide a calm, reassuring voice and expert support.
Almost all (94 per cent) of the over 65s who took part in the survey said that being free of financial hardship is important in later life, which is reflected in the 40,000+ enquiries the Advice Line received about money and benefits last year. The other most frequent topics raised were about Age UK’s own services, housing, care homes and legal worries.
Supporting Age UK’s latest campaign, Actress Dame Judi Dench, said:
We all know that ageing is inevitable, but it’s heart-breaking to think of older people who feel they have no one they can turn to.
“Age UK is working hard to change this, and by supporting their ‘No one should have no one to turn to’ campaign you can help them to be there for older people who might have no one else.”
Green Goddess Diana Moran, TV personality, journalist and ambassador for Age UK, said:
I visited Age UK’s Advice line recently and it really is such a lifeline for older people and their families. Many of the calls I heard were from people who just didn’t know where else to go. Luckily, Age UK is there to offer specialist advice on everything from paying for care to claiming benefits and are only a phone call away – every single day of the year.
“Age UK’s work is vital, so I’m encouraging everyone to support this campaign so that older people and their families have someone to turn to when they need it most.”
Caroline Abrahams, Charity Director at Age UK, said:
We have a rapidly ageing population and it is heart-breaking to think that more than two and a half million older people feel they have noone to go to for help – that’s more than the entire population of Birmingham. The fact is that getting older can be really tough and however resilient you are it’s important to know someone will always be there for you, come what may. That’s what we aim to be for older people at Age UK and we know it makes a huge difference, especially for those with literally no one else they feel they can ask for help.
“Older people and their loved ones call our Advice Line for all kinds of reasons, often at their wit’s end, but whatever they are worried about our expert advisers are fantastic at offering help, pointing them in the right direction and providing reassurance and a listening ear.
“The need for the support our Advice Line offers is growing all the time and we rely on donations from the public to keep this free service goingso we can always be there to respond – whether it’s they themselves who want our support, their parents, grandparents, older neighbours or friends, and especially if they have nobody else who can help.”
Age UK is encouraging people to get behind its campaign and to donate to help ensure that the Charity’s essential services and support can continue to be there for older people and their families and friends. For more information on No one should have no one to turn to or to donate, visit www.ageuk.org.uk/noone
Anyone who needs support or is worried about an older relative or friend can get in touch by calling Age UK Advice free of charge on 0800 169 6565, visiting www.ageuk.org.uk or contacting their local Age UK to see what support is available locally.