The breakdown of traditional families and social housing has led to the loneliness epidemic and social isolation affecting millions of people in t he UK, says an academic and political analyst in London.
“In the UK, the genuine cracking of the traditional family has been going on for quite a long time. And as a result, particularly among old people has benefited off its loneliness,” said professor Rodney Shakespeare.
“It is also being reflected among younger people where the units are getting smaller and smaller. This combines with a decline of availability in the social housing. So the trend has been developing for quite a while and the government now wants a patch-up solution,” Shakespeare said on Wednesday.
“I do think that loneliness is an aspect of a social breakdown, a type of disintegration of society,” he added.
Britain appointed a “minister for loneliness” to tackle modern public health problems associated with social isolation affecting millions of people in the UK.
UK Prime Minister Theresa May appointed Tracey Crouch on Wednesday after research showed as many as one in ten people felt lonely “always or often” and that hundreds of thousands of elderly people hadn’t spoken to a friend or relative in the past month.
According to the British Red Cross, more than nine million people say they are always or often lonely, out of a population of 65.6 million.
The charity describes loneliness and isolation as a “hidden epidemic” affecting people across all ages at various moments in their life, such as retirement, bereavement or separation.
Loneliness is as bad for your health as chronic medical conditions, Britain’s top GP warned in October. Many older people go to their GP because they are lonely and want human contact, said Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, chairman of the Royal College of GPs.