Don Foster MP

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Bath politicians highlight plight of lonely elderly

Nearly 4000 pensioners in Bath and North East Somerset could be suffering physical and mental health problems as a result of being lonely.

Today, Don Foster MP highlighted loneliness as a major health and care issue to be taken seriously by government and local organisations alike.

Don a visit to Bridgecare BathBacked by Cllr Simon Allen, B&NES Council Cabinet Member for Wellbeing, Don Foster MP 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 Bath and North East Somerset 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 B&NES this means there are around 3596 lonely pensioners who could be experiencing serious long-term effects on their health as a result.

Don Foster, MP for Bath said:

If we don’t start to champion loneliness as a health and care issue, elderly people in Bath 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 locally and nationally.

“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 Bath’s older population.”

Councillor Simon Allen (Liberal Democrat, Radstock), B&NES Council Cabinet Member for Wellbeing said:

” In Bath and North East Somerset we have strong communities who look out for each other but still some of our neighbours will have the experience of being lonely.

“I am glad that the Government are taking steps to address loneliness and recognising the impact being lonely can have on a person’s Health and Wellbeing. Often a quick chat, a wave and a hello can make all the difference in a person’s life.”

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.”

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