Elderly care

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Dancer Carlton Gadsby is a full-time carer for his elderly mother.

Lonely old people 'put off joining day centres'

Caitlin Webb

Local Democracy Reporter

Hands of an elderly woman

An expert on age discrimination claims lonely old people are put off joining day centres because they do not want to admit they are old enough to take part.

Research by Dr Hannah Swift at the University of Kent has found many over 65s are reluctant to sign up for activities with people their age because they are in denial about growing older.

It comes as studies show people affected by loneliness and social isolation are more likely to suffer chronic diseases.

Data from the Kent Public Health Observatory suggests over 65s who feel lonely are at higher risk of serious health conditions such as heart attacks, strokes and depression.

Elected officials at Kent County Council have been tasked with gathering evidence to find the most appropriate solution to help older people to feel less lonely or isolated.

One suggestion from charities and volunteer groups, such as Age UK, is to create groups of like-minded people from the same generation.

Conservative councillor Sarah Hamilton confessed her hesitance to join clubs for people over 60 despite fitting in that age group.

"So the challenge is how we want to tackle that identity crisis with how older people see themselves," she said.

Daughter of woman abused in Braintree care home gives talk to staff
Gill Lee has returned to the care home where her mother was assaulted to talk to staff.