Combatting loneliness in later life


Loneliness can affect people of all ages, at different stages in life, but it is most common for people in later life. It also has a major impact on quality of life and general wellbeing.

We understand it’s a real issue affecting so many. As a national UK charity that aims to reduce social isolation for older people, we’ve put together some tips, information and where to get extra support for combatting loneliness.

Get involved in your community 

There is usually a whole host of activities available in your local area. Your local library, paper, council and community centre will have information about what’s on. There are also regional and national organisations like the Women's InstituteRotary, Re-engage and MHA Communities are groups that meet across the UK with activities and sessions based on members’ interests and needs.

Stay connected online

Now more than ever, there are more options to stay connected with people including online video calling and social media which offer free accounts. Programmes like Zoom, Teams or Skype offer free video calling all around the world. All you need is a tablet, computer or laptop and access to an internet connection.

If you don’t have these, your local library will have computer access, just remember if you log into an account using a public computer make sure you log out and don’t click ‘remember me'.

Volunteering and fundraising

Getting involved with charity work can give you a sense of purpose and accomplishment but also, helps you to get out of the house and interact with others.

To find out more about volunteering for MHA, visit our volunteering page > 

To find out more about fundraising for MHA, visit our fundraising page > 

If you can, get out and about

Use your free bus pass to travel to some new places, or familiar ones, you can apply for your bus pass on the website. You can also get a senior railcard giving you a third off rail travel if you’re travelling further.

You could go shopping, go to a café, an art gallery, museum or a park and if you feel brave, talk to strangers and spark a conversation - you never know, you might make someone’s day! Or even make a new friend.  

Foster or purchase a pet 

There’s research that shows that having a pet can improve wellbeing, happiness and help you to feel less lonely.

The RSPCA have more information on what it means to foster an animal.

You could also offer to look after a neighbour’s cat for a day, or take their dog for a walk to give it a try - that might be enough of a commitment or time with an animal to meet your needs.

There’s an organisation called Borrow My Doggy where you can ‘borrow’ a dog for walks, weekends or holidays.

We understand getting a pet is a big commitment, so check out Battersea Cats & Dogs Homes' pet advice for more information. 

Drown out the silence 

If you live alone it can often feel very quiet in a home on your own. If you put on the radio or TV on to have in the background, it’ll help your house feel less quiet and keep you company. 

Start a new hobby to entertain yourself

Time definitely flies when you’re having fun! Download our MHA Active app that has a wide variety of activity videos available to watch online for free. Join in with an exercise class, crafting, quizzes and much more. You can access via a desktop (your PC, computer or laptop) or by downloading the app - find out more on our MHA Active page


You could sign up to be a part of a befriending service where you are matched with a volunteer to regularly call you for a catch-up.

MHA offer a free befriending service. You can be contacted via telephone, online or in-person. If you'd like to receive befriending calls from a volunteer or become a befriender yourself, visit our befriending page >

Have you considered retirement living?

Retirement living communities enable you to have independence in your own home but also feel part of a community. There are also care packages and adaptations available if you require them. Find out more about MHA retirement living >

Other organisations offering further support

Page last updated: July 2023. 

MHA Communities

MHA Communities

Our community groups across the UK tailor activities to your interests, hobbies and the support that's needed in the area so there'll be something to suit you.

Find out more