Gay old men more likely to be lonely

Isolation in older age is one of the key inequalities that men are more likely to face with charities like Age UK acknowledging that there is an increasing body of research evidence showing that the specific needs of older men are largely ignored in current services for older people.


Divorced and never married men are particularly susceptible to social isolation, poor health, risk behaviours (e.g. smoking and drinking) and material disadvantage than married older men and now new research suggests that gay men are more likely to be lonely in old age than straight men because they are less likely to have children and see family relations.

The issue of social isolation not only has an impact on the quality of individual men’s lives but as presents a potential ‘care crisis’ for health and social care services as those men living alone are more likely to need support form their GPs and older people’s services which may not be focussed on meeting the specific needs of older men – whatever their sexuality.

One new approach to supporting older men is The Men’s Sheds movement – a concept born in Australia but now starting to grow in the UK.  Men’s sheds are local facilities that can help connect men with their communities and mainstream society and help men with issues like poor health, isolation, loneliness and depression whilst acting as a catalyst in stimulating their community’s economic activities.

The Men’s Sheds movement in England will be one of the projects showcased at The First National Conference for Men and Boys that The Men’s Network is hosting in November and is the subject of a Discovering Men’s Sheds conference in Leicester later this month – click here for details.

The question that this new research presents is – is it time to open the world’s first Gay Men’s Shed?

To read more on YouGov’s research into the experience of older gay men see the media links below:

Pink News: Stonewall Report: Older Gay People At Risk Of Loneliness

Daily Mail: How gay people are more likely to be lonelier in their old age

The Observer: Gay People At Risk Of  A Lonelier Old Age


Glen Poole is UK co-ordinator for International Men's Day, Director at the consultancy Helping Men and news editor of insideMAN magazine. Follow him on twitter @HelpingMen or find out more about his work at

Posted in NEWS
One comment on “Gay old men more likely to be lonely
  1. Gary Morris says:

    I am a gay mature man and desperately alone as my civil partner who is twenty years junior than I with a Masters degree is in China. The intolerance towards gay men is increased tenfold toward the mature gay, and it is alas the gay community that shun us the most. No organisation supports us either. Mature Gay people are vulnerable and alone, at risk from hate crime and anti social behaviour in society. Yet where is the likes of Stonewall that only ever appear to support if anyone, the Gay Youth.

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