Building Companionship

This report focuses on how loneliness in later life can be combated through creating more connected communities and better design of retirement housing.

Amid growing concerns around isolation and its impact on both the health of older generations and cost implications for the NHS and social care, this report highlights the regional variations in loneliness. With over a million older people always or often feeling lonely, this report finds that the highest levels of loneliness are reported in London and the North West and the lowest levels in Yorkshire

Better housing design, building ‘cities for all ages’ and encouraging ‘socialisers’ to motivate outliers into activities are identified in this report as ways to help promote social engagement. The authors recommend that the sociability, activities and sense of community that can be found in retirement housing could be used as a model in future housing provision.

Key findings:

  • Those aged over 80 are almost twice as likely to report feeling lonely compared to their younger counterparts.
  • Londoners aged 55+ report the highest levels, with four out of five (81%) feeling lonely at least some of the time, citing a lack of community spirit and support.
  • Yorkshire and Humberside emerged as the least lonely region, with 47% of over 55s saying they had not felt lonely at any point during the past 12 months, with local communities and neighbours playing a large role.
  • Those who live in retirement housing tend to report feeling much less lonely than their peers in mainstream housing.

The press release with further findings and recommendations can be viewed here.

Download the report in full

This report was supported by McCarthy & Stone.