Millions of pensioners feel they have no-one to turn to for help and support, a charity has warned.
Age UK estimates that 2.65 million people over the age of 65 face their problems alone.
When asked: ‘Do you ever feel like you have no-one to go to for help or support?’, 23% of over 65s answered ‘always, often or sometimes’, according to a poll of more than 1,000 British adults aged 50 and over.
Using population estimates, the charity has calculated that millions have no-one to turn to.
Actress Dame Judi Dench said the figures were “heartbreaking”.
Among those who felt they had no-one to turn to, almost a quarter (24%) said this left them feeling lonely, 22% said they felt isolated and one in five said it made them depressed.
The charity released the findings to mark its new campaign to encourage people to support their services for the elderly, such as its Age UK Advice Line.
It said that last year it helped 210,000 callers deal with issues including bereavement, tackling loneliness, getting social care support and managing health problems like dementia.
Backing the new campaign, Dame Judi said: “We all know that ageing is inevitable, but it’s heartbreaking to think of older people who feel they have no-one they can turn to.
“Age UK is working hard to change this, and by supporting their ‘No-one should have no-one to turn to’ campaign you can help them to be there for older people who might have no-one else.”
Age UK’s charity director Caroline Abrahams added: “We have a rapidly ageing population and it is heart-breaking to think that more than two and a half million older people feel they have no-one to go to for help - that’s more than the entire population of Birmingham.
“The fact is that getting older can be really tough, and however resilient you are it’s important to know someone will always be there for you, come what may.
“That’s what we aim to be for older people at Age UK and we know it makes a huge difference, especially for those with literally no-one else they feel they can ask for help.”
To support the campaign visit: www.ageuk.org.uk/noone or to contact the charity’s Advice Line, which is open every day of the year from 8am to 7pm, call 0800 055 6112