Joanita Wibowo

How loneliness affects Aussies over 50

How loneliness affects Aussies over 50

More and more people are feeling socially isolated in Australia. According to the latest national survey by Swinburne University and the Australian Psychological Society, one in four adults are lonely, with 55 per cent of the population feeling they lack companionship at least sometimes.

Now a new study has found that the problem is still pronounced for those who are in the later stage of life.

A research by dating platform Lumen found that one in six (or 16 per cent) Australians aged 50 and over feel lonely most days.

The study, which was conducted on more than 2,000 Australians aged 50 and over, also discovered that the lack of partner is not the only reason behind their loneliness. 37 per cent attributed their lonely feeling to losing touch with friends, while 35 per cent put it down to the fact that they are no longer working. Only 20 per cent said they are lonely due to the absence of sex.

Most of the lonely (or 80 per cent) Aussies within this age group have tried to combat their loneliness by meeting new people, be it through going out more (46 per cent), joining social media sites (34 per cent), starting new hobbies (28 per cent), or socialising through mutual friends (17 per cent).

These are in line with experts’ tips to battle loneliness and social isolation. Elisabeth Shaw, CEO of Relationships Australia NSW said simple steps such as saying hello to your neighbours, wishing strangers a good morning at the bus stop or joining interest groups through online platforms can make a big difference.

“In very tiny way it’s like, ‘Somebody knows that I lived today’,” Shaw told the ABC.

“I think we underestimate the effect on ourselves, feeling very connected … It means that we live in a more compassionate and connected way, and it also means that people are more attracted to us – if you do it, people are likely to do it back.”