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Paper launches campaign to combat loneliness

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Archant’s East Anglian Daily Times has joined forces with Age UK Suffolk to launch a year-long campaign to stop older people in the county being lonely.

Research by findings collected by Age UK Suffolk reveals: 17% of older people don’t speak to friends, family or neighbours in over a week, and 10% in over a month; 6% of older people leave their house once a week or even less than that; 40-50% of those aged over 80 say they are lonely.

Launching the campaign in paper, EADT editor Terry Hunt said: “The time for action is now. We urge everyone to think about what it’s like to be older – to imagine our own lives if we lost some of the things we take for granted – and consider what we can do to help those who need a friend.

“Even simple things can do so much good: saying “good morning” to people we pass in the street, for instance, and checking that elderly neighbours are all right.

“The campaign ? Shine a Light on Loneliness – will take things further. It will highlight the challenges many Suffolk residents face in later life and publicise some of the opportunities that exist to get out and about ? such as Age UK Suffolk’s day services that offer fun and friendship.

“Throughout 2015 – we will look at life through the eyes of both older folk and the volunteers who get a big kick from putting a smile on someone’s face.

“If the campaign makes just one person’s life a bit brighter, it will have succeeded. But we expect it to achieve far more. Together, we can make Suffolk a much less lonely county.

“It’s time to help older people across the county love later life, rather than simply endure it.”

Sharron Cozens, Age UK Suffolk’s acting chief executive, said: “We hope this campaign lets older people know that Suffolk cares about them and that help is available to those experiencing loneliness.

“A newspaper, parish magazine or local radio station can provide an important form of connection, company and reassurance to people who may not have regular visitors.

“The East Anglian Daily Times helps to keep people in touch with their community, news stories and events, which is why we are so pleased to have its support to Shine a Light on Loneliness in 2015.”

© Archant Ltd 2013