Survey Finds Scottish Older People Housebound, Lonely and Depressed

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5th October 2012 11:34 - Voluntary

Almost one in five of Scots aged over 75 and living alone is unable to leave their house as a result of poor health, claims research carried out by WRVS, a charity and voluntary association which aims to help older people.

Findings from the market research survey suggested that more than a quarter (26%) of Scottish older people considered themselves lonely, which is a commonly occurring side-effect of being housebound. At the extreme, one in twenty of these respondents are not speaking to anyone for days at a time.

Almost a fifth of respondents who said they felt lonely felt that this had impacted negatively on their confidence, with a quarter stating that they suffer from bouts of depression. In addition, almost one in ten (8%) of those admitting they were lonely also said they were not eating properly – which in turn leads to an increase in potentially avoidable GP and hospital visits.

The findings by WRVS add to the mounting body of evidence that loneliness in old age is becoming a serious health problem in the UK – a report published in May, also by WRVS, suggested that elderly people in the UK are the loneliest when measured against four equivalent countries in Europe.

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