Loneliness and social isolation are silent killers, according to the statistics.
Health studies suggest that social isolation is as bad for you as obesity or heart disease and that loneliness can be as damaging to your health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day.
We become isolated for many reasons, and loneliness affects all of us at some point in our lives, but it is most prevalent among vulnerable and isolated older people.
Research commissioned by Age UK indicates that half a million people over the age of 60 spend most days alone and about half a million more don’t have contact with anyone for up to a week at a time.
So why don’t we talk about it?