4media group conducted PR research and a broadcast day with the UK’s leading retirement housebuilder, McCarthy and Stone. The campaign aimed to find out how loneliness is affecting the lives of older generations and what people are doing to combat it. 4media group’s work was part of a wider campaign by the brand, appealing for people to pledge to do one small action to help turn the problem of loneliness around.
The broadcast day was fronted by former Olympic marathon champion, Paula Radcliffe MBE, who as spoken out not only the loneliness she experienced first-hand during her career, but also the loneliness her grandmother felt, after her grandfather’s death. She was be joined by 73-year-old Sylvie Morgan from Wales, who experienced loneliness after her husband passed away but decided to do something about this
The research of over 1000 adults over the age of 65, conducted by our in-house research agency Atomik Research, discovered that 53% often feel lonely, particularly when they are home alone. However, using social networking sites, going for walks and joining dating websites are just a few of the ways the over 65’s are combatting loneliness. Seven in 10 retirees have taken to Facebook in a bid to stay in touch with friends and family, and a further one in 10 have taken to dating again. Four in 10 respondents have made a concerted effort to volunteer within the local community, while 38% go out for a walk and 28% listen to the radio.
The research also highlighted the effects of loneliness on the older generation, with 42% saying being lonely makes them feel sad and 28% admitting to feelings of depression. More than one in five said being lonely made them feel invisible, while 15% believe it affects their mental health. A staggering 80% of all those who are lonely have never told anyone else about this and one in seven admit to being embarrassed about feeling lonely. When it comes to confiding in others, 42% can’t bear to have people worrying about them and 37% don’t want to be a burden.
While 30% think the healthcare profession should be responsible for lonely older people, and a quarter think the government should be accountable, a resounding 68% agree a small action from others – family, friends, neighbours and those within the local community – would make all the difference to how lonely they feel.
The broadcast day for the campaign was successful with 10 broadcast interviews secured, including Sky News Sunrise and BBC Leeds, BBC Cambridgeshire, BBC Sussex and BBC Surrey. You can view the full coverage here.