In a typical week almost 2.6 million people aged 65 and over speak to three or fewer people they know, with over 225,000 often going a week without speaking to anyone at all.
New research revealed by Cadbury Dairy Milk and Age UK illustrates the impact of loneliness with over half a million of those who’ve been lonely claiming it stops them going out and about in everyday life with almost 4.5 million older people claiming to have felt lonely during later life.
That’s why Cadbury Dairy Milk is launching a new brand campaign Donate Your Words in support of Age UK. For the first time ever the UK’s number one chocolate brand will be removing the words from its iconic bars and ‘donating’ them to the Charity to help alleviate loneliness amongst older people.
The limited edition bar will be sold in supermarkets nationwide with 30p from each bar going towards Age UK to help provide vital services and support when older people need it most. The campaign will also encourage Brits to donate their words by pledging to reach out and have a chat with older people in their communities.
The survey found that simple, small gestures can play a part in helping to tackle loneliness with over six million older people claiming a few minutes of conversation would make a huge difference to their week. According to the survey, some of the actions that would help older people feel more confident when outside the home are:
- Knowing their neighbours – 38%
- Someone smiling or saying hello when at bus stop/in a queue – 26%
- Neighbour stopping to say hello – 24%
- Someone asking how their day has gone – 21%
Laura Gray, Brand Manager at Mondelez said “We’re so proud to announce this partnership and to be supporting Age UK – it’s such an important charity that is really tackling the issue of loneliness. We are donating the words from our bars of Cadbury Dairy Milk and encouraging people up and down the country to donate theirs through small gestures that could really help change the lives of older people.”
When asked, 55% of 16-45 year olds surveyed claim they’re worried about growing lonely in older age and 64% believing it gets harder to hold onto relationships the older you get.
While 67% of those aged 16-45 admitted they would be likely to do something that could potentially help boost the confidence of an older person who felt lonely, the research revealed the top five issues stopping them helping someone who they think feels lonely:
- They’re worried the other person won’t respond well (37%)
- They’re too shy (30%)
- They don’t know how to help (27%)
- Find it hard to tell if someone needs help (25%)
- Too busy (25%)
“Loneliness is a huge problem because retirement, bereavement & ill health mean many older people find they are spending a lot less time enjoying the company of others than they’d like. Loneliness can affect your health, your wellbeing and the way you see yourself – it can make you feel invisible and forgotten. Working with Cadbury Dairy Milk on this campaign could really help to raise even more awareness of the issue and encourage everybody to do their bit to help tackle it,” said Caroline Abrahams, Charity Director at Age UK.
“A friendly “hello” or “how are you?” is something most of us take for granted – it’s just part of every day life, but these latest figures show that hundreds of thousands of older people in the UK will spend today and the rest of this week alone, with no one to share even a few simple words with. That’s why Age UK’s expert advice and support services are so crucial and help people in all sorts of ways, every day of the year.”
The campaign was devised by VCCP, and the limited edition chocolate bar is now available in stores around the UK.