Research revealed by Cadbury and the charity illustrates the impact of loneliness on older people with almost 4.5 million of them claiming to have felt lonely during later life.
The study found that in a typical week almost 2.6 million people aged 65 and over speak to three or fewer people they know.
In an effort to combat this, Cadbury Dairy Milk has launched Donate Your Words, a new campaign in support of Age UK.
For the first time ever the popular chocolate brand will be removing the words from the packaging of its iconic bars and ‘donating’ them to the Charity to help alleviate loneliness amongst older people.
The limited edition bar will be sold in supermarkets nationwide with 30p from each bar going towards Age UK to help provide vital services and support when older people need it most.
The campaign will also encourage Brits to donate their words by pledging to reach out and have a chat with older people in their communities.
The survey found that simple, small gestures can play a part in helping to tackle loneliness with over 6 million older people claiming a few minutes of conversation would make a huge difference to their week.
According to the survey, some of the actions that would help older people feel more confident when outside the home are, knowing their neighbours (38 per cent), someone smiling or saying hello when at bus stop/in a queue (26% per cent), and a neighbour stopping to say hello (24 per cent).
Laura Gray, Brand Manager at Mondelez said “We’re so proud to announce this partnership and to be supporting Age UK - it’s such an important charity that is really tackling the issue of loneliness.
"We are donating the words from our bars of Cadbury Dairy Milk and encouraging people up and down the country to donate theirs through small gestures that could really help change the lives of older people.”
As part of the survey, 67 per cent of participants aged 16-45 admitted they would be likely to do something that could potentially help boost the confidence of an older person who felt lonely, but that they they don’t know how to help (27 per cent), find it hard to tell if someone needs help (25 per cent) or are too busy (25 per cent).
Caroline Abrahams, Charity Director at Age UK, said: “Loneliness is a huge problem because retirement, bereavement & ill health mean many older people find they are spending a lot less time enjoying the company of others than they’d like.
“Loneliness can affect your health, your wellbeing and the way you see yourself - it can make you feel invisible and forgotten. Working with Cadbury Dairy Milk on this campaign could really help to raise even more awareness of the issue and encourage everybody to do their bit to help tackle it.
“A friendly 'hello' or 'how are you?' is something most of us take for granted – it’s just part of every day life, but these latest figures show that hundreds of thousands of older people in the UK will spend today and the rest of this week alone, with no one to share even a few simple words with.
"That’s why Age UK’s expert advice and support services are so crucial and help people in all sorts of ways, every day of the year.”
• For more information about the Cadbury Dairy Milk Donate Your Words campaign visit www.ageuk.org.uk/donateyourwords