London - More than a third of men over 75 confess to feeling lonely, according to research.
Thirty-six percent who live alone are unhappy and spend more than 12 hours a day on their own.
They are more likely to be lonely than women, but are much less likely to confide in friends and family about their feelings.
The findings, by the age charity WRVS, also highlight how elderly men are socially isolated, with 41 percent typically having two or fewer face-to-face conversations a day and 3 per cent having none at all.
The research suggests up to 200,000 men over 75 battle loneliness. This is widely considered to be a serious health issue for older people, as those living a solitary life are more likely to become ill and need hospital care. Worryingly, although 54 percent of the lonely men admit to feeling depressed, 75 percent have never sought help.
The main cause of loneliness for older men was the death of a partner (62 percent), followed by losing companions their own age (54 percent). However, 85 percent of the lonely men said they felt better after seeing friends or family.
More than one in five – 21 percent – said they didn’t leave the house for days and nine percent said they no longer ate properly.
One in eight also said they worried about their mental health because they had no-one to talk to.
David McCullough, chief executive of WRVS, said: “These are stark findings. Given the stigma attached to admitting being lonely and needing help, this may even be an optimistic snapshot.
“It’s time we took this problem seriously and understood the consequence of this kind of extreme loneliness is that older people end up in hospital unnecessarily as loneliness leads to a deterioration in their physical and mental well being.” - Daily Mail