Barbara Keeley MP


Jo Cox Commission on Loneliness – help for older people experiencing loneliness

I am concerned by Age UK's estimate that over 1.2 million older people say they are chronically lonely.

Tackling loneliness is a vital issue. Too often loneliness can go undetected, as many people put up with it in silence. According to Age UK there are 200,000 older people who have not had a conversation with friends or family for a month and 3.9 million older people who say that the television is their main form of company.

Recent evidence suggests that loneliness can have a serious impact on the physical and mental health of older people. It can be associated with increased rates of depression, cardiovascular disease and cognitive decline. I have learned that loneliness can be as harmful for our health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day.

I believe that loneliness is a public health issue and that more could be done to treat it as such. I also believe there is a role for Government in recognising the impact of loneliness.

Working with 13 charities including Age UK, the Jo Cox Commission aims to shine a spotlight on the different aspects of loneliness and to look at positive ways to tackle the issues. I support the work of the Commission - a cross-party coalition of MPs, charities and campaigners working to take action on loneliness in my late colleague's memory.

I would like to see a system of safety checks for older people who are vulnerable, identifying risks to their health and preventing problems such as loneliness and depression from escalating.

Locally, I am continuing the work of the Commission by looking at how loneliness is affecting people in Salford and at finding ways we can tackle the problem.

The Labour Party will place cookies on your computer to help us make this website better.

Please read this to review the updates about which cookies we use and what information we collect on our site.

To find out more about these cookies, see our privacy notice. Use of this site confirms your acceptance of these cookies.