Country Correspondent: Partha Das
Loneliness has been described as a health epidemic in the U.K., with 1.4 million adults age 50 or older reporting that they often felt lonely in 2016–17. Chronic loneliness has been associated with health risks, including an increased risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease later in life. A new analysis by the charity Age UK using data from the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing showed that older adults are nearly four times more likely to often feel lonely if they are in poor health than are those in good or excellent health. The report makes several policy recommendations for the government’s loneliness strategy, such as including a “loneliness test” in future policy proposals to measure their potential impacts on social networks and community resources. The number of lonely older adults is predicted to increase by nearly 50 percent in the next 10 years, to more than 2 million by 2025.