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Mark Hunter


July 11, 2012 11:56 AM

HUNTER HIGHLIGHTS PLIGHT OF LONELY ELDERLY ACROSS STOCKPORTNearly 6,000 pensioners in Stockport could be suffering physical and mental health problems as a result of being lonely - according to official statistics.

Today Cheadle MP Mark Hunter highlighted loneliness as a major health and care issue to be taken seriously by government and local organisations alike.

Mr Hunter also welcomed the news that the Coalition government will be working with the care and support sector to develop measures of loneliness to help identify people at risk of social isolation. This will help older people in Stockport to receive the help and support they need to re-connect to their communities.

According to national and international research - an average of 10 per cent of the over 65s say they are lonely or very lonely. In Stockport this means there are around 5,821 lonely pensioners who could be experiencing serious long-term effects on their health as a result.

Commenting, Mark said:

"If we don't start to champion loneliness as a health and care issue, elderly people in Cheadle will continue to have their lives cut short.

"Earlier this year Lib Dem ministers Steve Webb and Paul Burstow hosted the first ever summit on loneliness amongst older people - and I intend to join them in highlighting the importance of this issue both in the Cheadle constituency and in Coalition Government.

"As a Liberal Democrat MP I believe the more we can do to provide people with the social contact they need to stay physically and mentally well, the better it is for Cheadle's older population."

Lib Dem Minister of State for Care Services Paul Burstow MP said: "Loneliness is one of society's unspoken problems. Far too many people live alone, without day to day contact with friends, family and neighbours.

"Not only is it morally right that we reach out to each other and make sure no one lives in isolation, but research shows that loneliness has as direct an influence on mortality as the effects of alcohol and tobacco."