7% of people aged over 50 feel lonely

More than one in 20 people over 50 often feel lonely, according to the first report measuring progress on the State’s strategy on positive ageing.

Junior Minister for Older People, Helen McEntee, yesterday launched “Positive Ageing 2016”, the first National Positive Ageing Indicators report.

Among its findings, the report stated that 7.1% of people aged over 50 often feel lonely, and warned chronic loneliness “can have a negative impact on physical and mental health, increasing the risk of depression, cognitive decline and mortality”.

More than one third (35%) of people aged 50 or over are obese, while more than two thirds (67%) reported low levels of physical activity.

Almost one in five (19%) reported an unmet need for a community care service.

Nearly half (45%) of people aged 50 or over reported that they felt discriminated against because of their age in the past two years.

Ms McEntee said that the report highlights areas of concern for older people that needs improvement.

“We know that older people want to age in their own homes and communities and that creating positive change in health and wellbeing of people across our cities, towns and villages takes the involvement of the whole community, the whole of Government and all of society working in unison,” she said.

“This report outlines the broad range of areas in which people need to be supported in order to enjoy a positive ageing experience,” Ms McEntee said.

Age Action, the advocacy organisation for older people, also welcomed the report. “Today’s report is important in setting out clearly where we are succeeding and where we need to do more to implement the National Positive Ageing Strategy,” Justin Moran, head of advocacy and communications at Age Action, said.

“It should be seen as a call to action for the Government and state agencies, and a challenge to groups like ourselves to work together to ensure the strategy is fully implemented. Growing old in Ireland should not be a source of fear. It should be a positive experience,” he said.


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