Edinburgh named second loneliest place in UK during lockdown
Researchers used the latest official statistics on divorces, health, age and household size to compile a league table of towns and cities across the country.
Topping the table was Durham with 758 points, followed by Edinburgh on 686 points, Glasgow on 685 and Newcastle on 678. Leeds was fifth with 655 points, Sheffield was on 639, Braford on 624, Wakefield and Sunderland tied on 616 and Doncaster was tenth on 591
Care home comparison site Care Sourcer, which carried out the study, said older generations had had to live under the strictest coronavirus measures for almost a year now, with one in three over-65s reporting feeling lonelier than ever during the pandemic.
With the latest lockdown bringing back many of the measures seen at the beginning of the crisis, the survey focused on where in the UK were elderly people feeling the most isolated.
High divorce rates, low health satisfaction scores, large over-65 populations and smaller households all contribute to loneliness according to the UK government’s ONS study.
Andrew Parfery, CEO and founder of Care Sourcer, said there was government funding to bring communities together and reduce isolation.
He said: “January is a difficult month for many, and now that there is another national lockdown this will leave many people unable to carry out their normal plans or spend time with their loved ones in person. It is vital that communities receive these resources as soon as possible to support those that will struggle the most.
"Individuals in these communities can also help. Wherever you live in the UK, there are lonely older people in your area, town and probably on your street. It’s up to all of us to step up and think creatively about how we can reach out to them in a safe way."
And he had advice for those feeling lonley: “If you are unable to see your loved ones in person, technology is your friend. Pick up the phone or FaceTime older friends and family - there is no time limit on this and it is a wonderful way to see multiple people at once.
"You don’t have to use tech though. There are lots of pen pal schemes in place across the country. Pen pal schemes became very popular during the first lockdown with school children writing to the elderly in their area.
"If you are interested, you can visit your local care home’s website to see what schemes they have in place. There are also opportunities to become a telephone friend to an older person. You may get a lot out of it too.
"We need to build better infrastructures in this country to stop the epidemic of isolation that is ruining the lives of our older generation. Let’s use this research as the push we all need to reach out and make a real difference to the elderly in our areas.”