LONDON — For most of us, the older we get, the more we slow down physically. But for some, growing old also means slowing down socially — so much to the point that some home-bodied seniors go days with little to no human interaction. A new survey of British elders sheds light on this sad, but true effect of aging, noting that hundreds of thousands of people often go a week without speaking to a single person.
According to the survey of 1,896 seniors over 65 in the United Kingdom, more than one in five (22%) will have a conversation with no more than just three people over the span of an entire week! That translates to nearly 2.6 million elderly folks who don’t enjoy regular human contact on a daily basis. Perhaps most alarming though is researchers say an alarming 225,000 individuals will go a week without talking to anyone face-to-face.
“A friendly ‘hello’ or ‘how are you?’ is something most of us take for granted – it’s just part of every day life, but these latest figures show that hundreds of thousands of older people in the UK will spend today and the rest of this week alone, with no one to share even a few simple words with,” says Caroline Abrahams, charity director at Age UK, which partnered with Cadbury Dairy Milk to commission the research, in a statement.
The survey also revealed that 38% of seniors admit to feeling lonely at times as they’ve aged, with 12%, or about one in eight, agreeing that loneliness has kept them from leaving their home.