Loneliness and isolation in Edinburgh

By Georgia
on Sun 28 Feb 2016

Loneliness and isolation are growing problems in Edinburgh. A study in 2014 found that pensioners in the city were the loneliest in the UK, with many spending less than an hour a day socialising. This is an unacceptable statistic.

So that’s why we exist, to have an impact on loneliness and isolation in Edinburgh.

Loneliness and isolation in Edinburgh



Loneliness and isolation are incredibly detrimental to our health and wellbeing. And there is plenty of research proving just that.

Here are some facts about the health impacts of loneliness and isolation that may surprise you:

  • People experiencing chronic loneliness have an increased chance of developing dementia by 64%.[1]
  • Lacking social connections can be as damaging to health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day.[2]
  • More than 80,000 people aged 65 and over, living in Scotland, said they always or often felt lonely.[3]
  • Around two in five older people (around 350,000) in Scotland say TV is their main form of company.[4]
  • Around one in six aged 65 and over in Scotland are feeling cut off from society with a quarter (around 230,000) saying they would like to get out more[5]
  • Nearly three-quarters of over 75s that live alone feel lonely. Worryingly, those who live alone have less face-to-face contact with their children than those who live with a husband or wife.
  • Households comprised of older people are more likely to contain someone with a long-term condition (59 percent of ‘single pensioner’ households and 57 percent of ‘older smaller’ households) compared to other types of households.[6]

[1] Study by ARKIN Mental Health Care and the Vrije Universiteit Medical Centre, Amsterdam, 2012.

[2] Julianne Holt-Lunstad, et al, ‘Social Relationships and Mortality Risk: A Meta-analytic Review’, published in PLOS Medicine, July 27, 2010.

[3] TNS Loneliness Omnibus Survey for Age UK, April 2014

[4] Ibid.

[5] Ibid.

[6] Scottish Household Survey 2014: http://www.gov.scot/Resource/0048/00484186.pdf

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