The appointment of a Minister for Loneliness, Tracey Crouch MP, came almost four years after a study from charity Friends of the Elderly revealed more than five million older people go weeks without speaking to a single person.
Better late than never, of course, yet the monumental issue of social isolation in the elderly is showing no signs of abating, with that five million figure set to rise to seven million by 2030, according to Friends of the Elderly.
Moreover, the south and south west of the UK came out worse in the 2014 survey - with a quarter of all people over 60 classed as lonely.
At Domestic Angels, we have witnessed the problems associated with social isolation first hand. Many of our customers fall into the demographic outlined by the Friends of the Elderly study and, in some cases, our Angels are the only people those customers see each week.
Cleaners and home helpers, yes, but our Angels’ roles in the lives of these customers runs much deeper than that.
Social isolation can strike for a whole host of reasons: Getting older or weaker, no longer being the hub of a family or deaths of spouses or friends. Whatever the reason, it’s easy to go from being surrounded by people to being alone in a snapshot.
Many older people who are lonely may also find it hard to reach out - someone around the age of 75, after all, was raised with that ‘Blitz’ spirit and stiff British upper lip. Older people tend not to ask for help or admit to feeling lonely, they don't want to be a nuisance to anyone.
At Domestic Angels, we place the well-being of our customers at the top of our ‘To-Do’ list.
Like a duster and a mop, a listening ear also goes a long way.