The report says that loneliness is the biggest problem faced by older people living in rural areas(AP Photo/ Max Nash)

Elderly Irish people are lonely and in dire need of some company according to a new survey by the Society of St Vincent de Paul.

The report says that loneliness is the biggest problem faced by older people living on their own with the issue acute in rural areas.
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The study, entitled ‘Older people - experiences and issues’, covers the experiences and issues of older people in Ireland.

It features their views on growing old, the younger generation, family links, income support, crime, housing, religion and employment.

SVP National President Mairéad Bushnell said: “We are working to combat loneliness by our system of personal visitation, and the provision of services such as day centres, social housing and holidays.

“Our report says that older people especially dislike robotic telephone answering systems used by public and private companies which, they feel, reduce personal contact, the report found.

“To keep in touch, many older people use mobile phones, mainly for calls and a smaller proportion for texting, but few respondents use personal computers or the internet.”