Winter’s hard enough as it is, but with a new national lockdown there are fears of a ‘loneliness epidemic’ spreading within communities.

According to recent data from Care Sourcer, over-65s in the UK are feeling more socially isolated than ever during COVID-19.

Whilst people aged between 18 and 24 were most likely to experience loneliness in the initial lockdown, it was older people who had to abide by the most stringent distancing measures due to their susceptibility to the virus.

Older people have taken the brunt of the coronavirus measures, leading to a sharp increase in loneliness and social isolation, with one in three reporting feeling lonelier in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Your Local Guardian: Over 65s have felt the brunt of the loneliness epidemicOver 65s have felt the brunt of the loneliness epidemic

Andrew Parfery, CEO and Founder of Care Sourcer, shares his expert tips for tackling loneliness in your community.


Mr Parfery urges us to think creatively about how to reach out to elderly people in the community who may be suffering from loneliness. 

“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,” he suggests.

Pen pals

However, technology is not always on option for everyone.

“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,” Mr Parfery says.

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Support bubbles

There’s also still the possibility of seeing people in person, if in line with government guidelines.

"You are still able to provide unpaid care for a friend or family member if needed, and some people may be able to form a support bubble with a loved one who lives by themselves. When doing so, it is still important to adhere to the government guidance and ensure everybody stays safe,” he adds.

Government funding

Finally, Mr Parfery emphasises the need for building better infrastructures to support older people in the UK.

“The government has announced £7.5 million in funding for sectors that bring communities together to tackle loneliness over the winter period. This follows the £4 million Local Connections Fund which will provide hundreds of small grants to bring communities together and reduce social isolation,” he comments.

Care Sourcer is an online comparison and matching site that connects people who need care with businesses who can help.

If you’re suffering from loneliness in Wandsworth there are charities that can help. Age UK Wandsworth offers telephone befriending services and greeting card schemes across the borough, you can find out more here: