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Lockdown leaving older generation feeling friendless and forgotten

1st July 2020
Posted by Johnny Jenkins

The Coronavirus pandemic has exacerbated the UK’s loneliness problem and new research today reveals the lack of communication with friends and family the lockdown is having on the older generation.

The research commissioned by Santander shows that 71 per cent of the over 55s have struggled with lockdown, with two thirds having not spoken to anyone about how they have been finding it difficult to cope. Over a fifth (21 per cent) have been drinking too much alcohol because they feel lonely.

One in 10 people aged over 55 have said that lockdown has put a strain on some of their friendships because friends have not tried to contact them, whilst one in six say lockdown has made them realise that they do not have any true friends. In fact, 55 per cent say they have had less contact with their family and friends since the pandemic began and 12 per cent believe the pandemic will have lasting implications on their feelings of loneliness, even after it is over.

Feelings of isolation have pushed some to breach lockdown regulations. Twelve per cent of all UK adults admit they have broken rules, such as hugging family and friends and going to live with family or friends after the lockdown began. Over 55s, however, are far less likely than younger people to have broken lockdown rules (at 9% compared to 37% of 25-34 year-olds). Of those over 55 who did break the rules due to loneliness,  30 per cent admitted they left the house more than once a day when full lockdown was in place, whilst 42 per cent met with people from another household.

To help alleviate loneliness, Santander UK employees are signing up as volunteers to make social phone calls to lonely and vulnerable people in the community through Age UK and Alzheimer’s Society. In turn, the Santander Foundation will donate £1,000 to Age UK and Alzheimer’s Society for every employee who takes part in this and other volunteering initiatives, up to £1million. So far, around 900 colleagues have signed up.

 In addition to donating up to £1million to Alzheimer’s Society and Age UK as part of the employee volunteering campaign, the Santander Foundation donated a further £2million to the charities following the outbreak of coronavirus. The donations of up to £3million are split equally between the two charities.

Johnny spoke to Hannorah Lee from Age UK and Sue Willis from Santander: