UK: Good but Lonely Place for Older People

November 1, 2015

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. in the running / ɪn ðə rʌn ɪŋ / (idiom) – to still be in the competition
Example He is still in the running to becoming the world’s oldest person.

2. isolation / ˌaɪ səˈleɪ ʃən / (n.) – a condition of being separated from others
Example Martha has been in isolation since her husband died.

3. lonely / ˈloʊn li / (adj.) – feeling alone and sad
Example: He felt lonely without his children at home.

4. welfare / ˈwɛlˌfɛər / (n.) – the condition of being happy, healthy, and successful
Example The nursing home staff cared for the man’s welfare more than his family did.

5. deem / dim / (v.) – to be considered as
Example Eric was deemed an unfriendly old man.


Read the text below.
The United Kingdom may be in the running for one of the best places to grow old in, except for the fact that its loneliness levels are high.

The Global AgeWatch Index is an international study that ranks countries based on how well the older population is living. It shows that the United Kingdom’s rank is affected by reports of chronic loneliness and isolation. In a total of 96 countries, it was ranked number ten in the best places for the older population to live in. However, when it came to health and well-being, the United Kingdom was down to the 27th place partly because of issues of loneliness, even if the country has free health care and has high life expectancy.

The same study has shown that 1 in 10 older people aged 65 years and older describe themselves as being lonely often or all of the time. A different study done by Alone, an Irish nonprofit organization, shows that loneliness among older people can have the same health effects as smoking 15 cigarettes a day. Older people who experience social isolation are found to have a high probability of having cardiovascular disease, weakened immune systems, and dementia.

While the United Kingdom did not receive the best ratings for the overall welfare of senior citizens, Switzerland has been deemed as the best place to grow old in, as the country ranked high in all areas. It was followed by fellow European countries Norway, Sweden, and Germany. Compared to its previous position last year, the United Kingdom went up one place and is now at the 10th place. It is the country’s first time to be included in the top ten, just a spot behind the United States.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         Why do you think old people in the United Kingdom are lonely?
·         What do you think the United Kingdom should do about the level of loneliness among the elderly?

Discussion B

·         Would you say your country is a good place to grow old in? Why or why not?
·         What are some activities that will help old people feel less lonely?

November 1, 2015