New research from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) has found the level of loneliness across the UK has increased since Spring 2020. With over a year of lockdowns, working from home and social distancing, it’s no surprise that levels of loneliness, unfortunately, continue to rise in Britain.
Pre-pandemic studies showed about 5% of adults were ‘always or often’ lonely, which is about 2.6 million people. However, the most recent study shows that the proportion has increased to 7.2% of the adult population (about 3.7 million adults).
The ONS survey that ran from October 2020 to February 2021, also showed the percentage of people who felt “often or always” lonely in parts of northern England was double the national average.
The research identified one-person households were also more likely to report lockdown loneliness compared with two-person households.
Managing Director of Barking Mad, Rachel Stewart said: “The pandemic has ultimately led to an increase in loneliness amongst all age groups, young and old. However, we believe that people can reconnect and reduce loneliness through their love of dogs.”
Studies show that pets, especially dogs, can reduce stress, anxiety, depression and ease loneliness. Dogs have the strongest connection to loneliness because they are social animals who make eye contact. Most dogs love human interaction and studies have shown they can even sense when a human is sad or afraid and provide comfort.
Combatting Loneliness with a Canine Companion
We have put together a list of things you can do to ensure you don’t go ‘barking mad’ with loneliness and support those who may be suffering from loneliness in your community.
- Walk your dog with one friend, neighbour or family member
Government guidelines for England state that ‘you can meet up outdoors with friends and family you do not live with in a group of up to 6 or from any number of households or in a group of any size from up to two households.’ So, take this opportunity to get some fresh air, stretch your pup’s legs and catch up with a friend or neighbour who may live alone and be missing human interaction
- Check-in on neighbours while walking
If you take your dog for daily walks, why not check in on your neighbours, especially those who live alone. Reach out to your neighbours by letting them know you are there for them. Knock the door and stand back for a chat, pop a note through the door or communicate through a window.
- Join the Barking Mad host community
If you cannot commit to becoming a dog owner, but feel caring for a dog would help combat your loneliness, then why not join our dog loving host community?
Barking Mad Host Community
The community of Barking Mad host families is made up of a variety of individuals, couples and families. The community mainly consists of people who work from home or those who are retired but still active. Barking Mad hosts have the opportunity to care for dogs in their own homes, while their owners are away on holiday.
This means hosts experience all the benefits of dog companionship without the financial or emotional responsibilities of being a dog owner. Barking Mad offer full support and are there to support hosts on a 24/7 basis.
So, if you are looking for dog companionship and have room in your home to care for a dog while their owners are away, we’d love to hear from you, find out more here.