Of all the seasons summer is the one we most associate with fun – sunshine, picnics, being outside, feeling warm and happy. Of course the appearance of the sun might encourage us to take off some layers or to get out of the house but it doesn’t necessarily stop us from feeling lonely.
Research led by Professor Christina Victor at Brunel University suggests older people are more likely to feel lonely during the summer months. We don’t know why the summer makes some people feel less connected to others but perhaps it’s about expectations. All the images we see show ideal summer days, with happy people spending time amongst friends and family. This idea of the perfect summer can leave us feeling like we’re missing out but life isn’t like a picture postcard or a Facebook post. Chores, rain, jobs, ill health, paying bills are all part of everyday life. For older people, families may be on holiday or poor mobility might make it harder to get out of the house and join in.
The reasons for loneliness at any time of year are complex but it is good to be reminded that we need build ways to support each other throughout the year.