On the International Day of Older People I would like to raise awareness of the issue of loneliness in older people

According to Ageing Well, loneliness has a similar effect on mortality as smoking 15 cigarettes a day. In particular, it has a devastating toll on people’s mental well-being due to the lack of stimulation and meaningful interaction with other people. It is currently estimated that amongst over 65s, a third of men and 75% of women live alone.

I know for some older people their family and loved ones are still around, but this is sadly not true for many other older people. I have seen the consequences of loneliness and it is heart-breaking. Older people have so much to give to our communities and we should do everything we can to ensure they remain part of them. I am passionately committed to this.

I am a member of the Health, Social Care and Sport Committee at the Assembly and we’ll be looking into this matter closely in the coming months. We’ll be able to contribute and improve the nationwide strategy to tackle loneliness and isolation which the Welsh Government is committed to delivering. With the population ageing and the world changing so fast, this problem is only going to grow. We need to address it as it’s not good for our society, our communities, and, more importantly, the individuals themselves.

The International Day of Older Persons is always on the 1st October each year. It started in 1991 after the United Nations decided to establish a day to appreciate older people and to stand against ageism.