Joining Juliet for the discussion:

Trevor Littleton, chairman and founder of Contact the Elderly

Lucy Baena, a 28-year-old writer who was housebound earlier this year for four months with chronic back pain 

Tony Lobl, Christian Science practitioner and a writer on spirituality and health

Dr Rebecca Harris, lecturer in psychology at the University of Bolton, specialising in the mental and physical effects of loneliness

Mrs Winifred Green, who is 88 and from Liverpool. She’s lived alone since her husband died 15 years ago



TL: "We have 6,700 dedicated volunteers but we’re merely scraping the surface of a huge problem. Only volunteers and family and friends can resolve this problem."

LB: "Loneliness is an incredibly isolating emotion that affects your whole life. You can be surrounded by people and still feel lonely. For younger people, the fact that people still feel alone when they have people around them is very challenging to come to terms with. In our society it isn’t the done thing to ask for help and admit you need people to visit you."

TL: "Sometimes it is very natural to be alone – a lot of people have lost that sense of having a daily experience alone with themselves for inner peace. It’s that deeper inner connection that could help people. The desire to give can be the answer to loneliness for some people."

RH: "Loneliness is a very real condition and is still a bit taboo in this country. The feeling of loneliness activates parts of the brain connected with physical pain. Loneliness doesn’t just affect the elderly, it affects everybody. You can be surrounded be lots of people and still feel lonely."

(Voice of Russia)