Sometimes it’s as simple as picking up the phone.

Older people are especially vulnerable to loneliness and social isolation – and it can have a serious effect on their mental health.

According to Age UK, more than 2million people in England over the age of 75 live alone, and more than a million older people say they go over a month without speaking to a friend, neighbour, or family member.

People can become socially isolated for a variety of reasons, such as getting older or weaker, no longer being the hub of their family, leaving the workplace, the deaths of spouses and friends, or through disability or illness.

Whatever the cause, it’s shockingly easy to be left feeling alone and vulnerable, which can lead to depression and a serious decline in physical health and wellbeing.

Someone who’s lonely probably also finds it hard to reach out. There’s a stigma surrounding loneliness, and older people tend not to ask for help.

If you relate to this video, the NHS has provided useful tips on how to tackle loneliness. Likewise, if you have an older relative or a friend that you haven’t heard from in a while… why not give them a call? It could mean more than you realise.

Video created by: Health Service 360 ( and and produced by Firewood Pictures