Loneliness and Learning Disabilities

Dementia Care
May 28, 2019


Loneliness is a big issue for many people in the UK today, especially people with learning disabilities.

It is very important for all people to have friends and to be able to see other people regularly.

However, for many people with learning disabilities, this does not happen.


According to Scope 85% of young disabled adults feel lonely.

And 1 in 4 people with learning disabilities interviewed by Mencap spent less than one hour outside of their home each day.

There may be many reasons for this loneliness, including:

  • No accessible events or venues

  • Carers hours

  • Lack of money

  • Problems with transport

As well as this, 93% of people with learning disabilities do not have paid jobs where they can meet and chat to colleagues so this adds to the loneliness.

Loneliness is a problem, not just because it makes people sad, but because it can cause lots of other health and social problems.

For example, loneliness means you are 50% more likely to die of a given illness than you would be if you were not lonely.

Also, if people with learning disabilities are not included in society, then the community will miss out on their input and stigma will get worse.

Because of this problem with loneliness, there are lots of organisations trying to help people get out more and meet people, including Mencap Gateway clubs, Gig Buddies, Special Olympics and friendship clubs.

At My Life My Choice, we run a project called Gig Buddies which works to reduce loneliness by pairing lonely people up with a volunteer to go and do fun things with.

As MLMC trustee Katie told the Telegraph, “it does really help loneliness because you can relate to them, they can relate to you and you can make lots of friends!”

We hope projects like this will help reduce loneliness among people with learning disabilities so they can live healthier and happier lives.


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