Loneliness has been defined by social researchers as ‘the subjective, unwelcome feeling of lack or loss of companionship’.
American researchers state that loneliness is an emotion that may have been caused through evolution to ensure humans remain in close contact with each other. Social research over the past few decades has shown that an average of 10% of older people feel ‘always’ or ‘severely’ lonely.
This figure has remained the same over decades despite a large number of organisations doing great work to reduce loneliness felt by older people. It should also be noted that in some socio-economic groups and ethnic groups this prevalence of loneliness has been shown as much higher.
In the professional world, loneliness is perceived from a number of different ‘expert viewpoints’: from social, psychological and medical experts. We know what can cause loneliness, how it affects someone’s state of mind and we also know something about the impacts of loneliness on health.
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