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Depressed Old and Lonely Men Rarely Seek Help

Update Date: Jul 26, 2012 08:52 AM EDT

A recent poll conducted among people over the age of 75 who live alone found that more older men than women are living lives in loneliness and isolation.

The study on behalf of the Women's Royal Voluntary Service (WRVS) also found that men are also less likely to seek help when compared to women even if they suffered from depression.

According to the study, 36 percent of older men and 31 percent women described themselves as being lonely and said that they ended up not talking to anyone for days together. 

Data based on Office for National Statistics figures shows that over 190,000 men over 75 live in serious isolation in Britain.

When asked, although more than half of those men admitted to feeling depressed, three-fourth of them said they never sought for any help. 

Loneliness has been linked to health problems by making it more likely that lonely people do not seek help for their health issues until the problem becomes really adverse and reaches an advanced stage.

One-fourth of the lonely people said they did not even leave their houses for days together while one in 10 admitted not eating properly any longer.

The study highlights the fact that loneliness takes a toll on people and makes it harder for them go out and socialize or to pursue their hobbies. Also, the problem is more acute in case of older men since only one in 10 of them willing to open up about their problems in front of friends and family compared to women, in whom, one-fourth of them are willing to speak up. 

The charity which works towards the betterment of vulnerable older people said that younger people could make a lot of difference in the lives of that elderly by simply befriending them and taking them out for a drink in the pub or perhaps out shopping.

"There is often a tendency, particularly among men, to adopt a 'stiff upper lip' mentality which could be why many of the over 75s aren't expressing their feelings and telling friends and family they are lonely," said David McCullough, the charity's chief executive, according to Telegraph.  

"This shouldn't be the case. Sadly, while loneliness is fairly common among older men, it is something that once recognised can be addressed. We would encourage anyone who is feeling lonely to have a chat to their loved ones or to their GP. There are many organisations like WRVS, with volunteers who can provide companionship, regular human contact and someone to chat with whether over a cup of tea, a drink in the pub, or a visit to the shops," he added.

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