Recent data collected by Contact The Elderly suggests that elderly loneliness is particularly prevalent in the winter months.
There was an 86% increase in calls this January, showing that the problem of isolation in old age is still a very real, and very sad one.
As part of our elderly loneliness series, we went to the Roko fitness centre to find out one way this issue can be combatted.
70-year-old Ron Day runs a fitness class for the more mature members of Roko gym. This consists of a warm up, 14 workstations, and a cool down, as well as laughs and chats.
Ron said: “Tackling loneliness with the elderly is wonderful and very much long overdue news. The issue is more extensive than people realise. At long last people are waking up to the fact that many elderly people live a very sad, demoralising and lonely life.
“There’s a great need for fitness in older age. The people who attend my class come along purely to exercise. They’re not made to do it, they want to do it, they love the classes.
“A gym is not just about exercise, it’s about being social, mixing with people, enjoying themselves and building the confidence to come out and be with people, relax, laugh and natter.”
After the class began, Ron’s words soon rang true, as the room was not only filled with determined fitness fanatics, but also heart-warming smiles and laughter.
“Everyone is friendly, this is a very friendly gym. I’ve been coming since it opened, and I’ve met so many great people. You’re never alone in Roko,” said class member Michael Tyler.
During the class, the gym-goers spend 40 seconds on each section, rotating between the 14 twice, with no breaks. The workout is brutal, but the classmates remain high-spirited and positive.
Barb Day, Ron’s wife and member of the class said: “Our Super Sixties class is amazing. Our class is so friendly, and we’ve become like a family. We are keeping fit and having fun at the same time.
“Ron is professional, but also a fun guy who always brings a smile to the faces in the room. We are very lucky to have him, and a class like this. I look forward to sharing many, many more classes with my Super Sixties friends.”
Every member I had the pleasure of chatting to reiterated Barb’s words, confirming that sessions such as this are the most effective way of battling the problem of elderly loneliness.
Read the other articles in our elderly loneliness series below: