Study highlights disability and loneliness
In 2021 Sense charity conducted a study highlighting loneliness in disabled people, the results were staggering, but unfortunately not surprising.
The survey found 61% (almost two thirds) of people with disabilities feel chronically lonely, rising to 70% (over two thirds) in young adults and children.
A total of 70% of disabled people believe their mental health is suffering by feeling isolated and 40% saying being alone also impacts their physical health.
At the last count there was a predicted 14.1 million people living with a disability in the UK, of course almost everyone has felt lonely some time in their life, but when it comes to disabled people the figure takes a solidary jump by 25%.
During the pandemic millions of us felt lonely, but for thousands of people with a disability it was nothing new. When restrictions were lifted almost the whole population started socialising again, making up for lost time. But for some, there was little change.
Richard Kramer, Sense Chief Executive, said: “We have all felt disconnected from others at some point during this pandemic, but loneliness has disproportionately affected disabled people. Many disabled people told us how they don’t have support networks around them and feel cut off from their local community. Others have struggled to leave their homes at all or to access and use digital technology to connect with people.
“More widely, disabled people face practical challenges such as the need for accessible transport and buildings, financial support and appropriate social care. However, a lack of understanding and awareness of disability is also a significant obstacle.
“We have all now experienced how it feels to have barriers preventing us from participating in everyday life. Our hope is that as we plan our way out of lockdown and begin to imagine what our lives will look like post COVID-19, we can all commit to making society more accessible for everyone.
“We can’t change what disabled people have experienced during the pandemic, but a more accessible society and a commitment to address loneliness can be its positive legacy.”
[ 35% of disabled people believe the government should prioritise addressing chronic loneliness* ]
*Figures from Sense 2021 survey.