In her weekly column for Ely News, Lucy Frazer, MP for South East Cambridgeshire, talks about the Jo Cox Commission on Loneliness and its efforts to engage us all.
Over one million older people are chronically lonely and half a million people over the age of sixty usually spend every day alone. This is according to research by AgeUK who are one of nine organisations working collaboratively on the ‘Spotlight on Older People’ initiative inspired by the Jo Cox Commission on Loneliness.
Passionate about tackling loneliness, Jo set up the Commission before her murder in June 2016. In her memory the Commission is being taken forward by a number of cross-party MPs supported by her family. This is the first of a series of monthly campaigns focusing on different sectors of society most prone to loneliness. The aim of the campaign is to create discussion around loneliness and prompt us all to think a bit more about what part we could play to help combat it.
While loneliness can strike at any age, older people are at higher risk of being lonely as they are more likely to experience deteriorating health and the death of a loved one. Disability, poor health, poverty and limited access to transport all contribute to older people feeling cut off from their family, friends and local communities, meaning many older people have little or no social interaction
Although there is no quick fix or single policy solution to eradicate loneliness, there are reasons to hope that we can change things for the better. The Commission aims not to simply highlight the issue of loneliness, but more importantly act as a call to action. Under the slogan ‘start a conversation’, its goal is to mobilise us all to help our neighbours, family and friends – whether it be talking to a neighbour, visiting an old friend, or just making time for the people we meet.
PS Wishing you a Happy Easter and for all those eager to eat a lot of chocolate there are a host of Easter Egg hunts to enjoy including at Wicken Fen and Anglesey Abbey.