Loneliness among older people is putting them at risk of doorstep crime, a conference in Stratford-Upon-Avon will be told today (Wednesday 2 April 2014).

Independent Age, the charity which helps older people across the UK through the „A, B, C‟ of advice, befriending and campaigning will warn delegates at the National Trading Standards‟ Doorstep Crime Conference that, if we fail to address it, loneliness in the older adult community can potentially be exploited by offenders.

Simon Bottery, Independent Age Director of Policy, who will be speaking at the event says, “Half of all older people live alone, and while not all of those will feel lonely, almost half of all older people say that the TV is their best friend. This is both extremely sad and has a number of worrying implications. Loneliness is not only damaging to health – it‟s as bad as smoking 15 cigarettes a day – but it can make people vulnerable. For some elderly people in particular, a lack of awareness of the modern world and a desire for social contact may make them more susceptible to doorstep crime.”

There are around 100,000 older people in Warwickshire suggesting that around 50,000 live alone.

Independent Age has a range of free books offering help and advice on issues affecting older people. Wise Guide 1: Advice for later life, covers support and entitlements, including tips on how to spot and avoid scams, while Wise Guide 3: Healthy, happy, connected offers support and advice for older people living alone. All of Independent Age‟s Wise Guides are free and can be ordered on the charity‟s website at www.independentage.org or over the phone on 0800 319 6789.

For those who feel lonely, the charity also offers both face-to-face and telephone befriending, plus telephone discussion groups. To find out more, call Independent Age on the number above or email advice@independentage.org

Independent Age Director of Policy, Simon Bottery, is available for interview.

For media inquiries contact Rebecca Law at Independent Age on 020 7605 4291 or 07545 209 589, or email Rebecca.Law@independentage.org

About Independent Age

Founded 150 years ago, Independent Age is a growing charity helping older people across the UK and Ireland through the „A, B, C‟ of advice, befriending and campaigning. We offer a free national telephone and email advice service focusing on social care, welfare benefits and befriending services, which is supported by a wide range of printed guides and factsheets. This is integrated with on-theground, local support, provided by a network of over 1,500 volunteers offering one-to-one and group befriending.

For more information, visit our website www.independentage.org Speak to one of our advisers for free and confidential advice and information. Lines are open Monday to Friday between 10am - 4pm. Freephone 0800 319 6789 or email advice@independentage.org

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