You might notice that Dairy Milk bars are looking very different this week, because Cadbury have changed the packaging.
If you spot the bars in supermarkets, you’ll notice that all the words are missing, leaving behind the milk glasses logo and nothing else.
The chocolate company has made this decision to raise awareness for a very important cause – loneliness amongst older people.
They say they have ‘donated the words’ on their iconic packaging to Age UK, following research showing that 225,000 older people can go a week without speaking to anyone.
For each Cadbury Dairy Milk bar sold, 30p will be donated to Age UK, helping them to support older people when they need it the most.
According to research by Cadbury and Age UK, in a typical week, nearly 2.6 million people aged 65 and over speak to three or fewer people they know. 225,000 often go a week without speaking to anyone at all.
More than half a million of those who’ve been lonely claim it stops them from going out and about, so it’s an incredibly isolating experience.
Cadbury are now encouraging UK residents everywhere to ‘donate their words’ by reaching out and speaking with older people in their local communities.
The research discovered that even small gestures can play a part in helping to combat loneliness, it doesn’t have to be a grand gesture.
Those involved in the survey said that knowing their neighbours, a neighbour stopping to say hello, and someone asking how their day has been could help them to feel less alone.
A separate poll asked people aged 16-45 if they’d be willing to help an older person who was lonely. 67 per cent said they would be likely to do so, but their were barriers such as nervousness, worrying the person would respond badly, and not knowing what to do.
Another big problem was that people felt they were ‘too busy’ to make time in their schedules to help.
Charity Director Caroline Abrahams said loneliness is a ‘huge problem’, adding: ‘Loneliness can affect your health, your wellbeing and the way you see yourself – it can make you feel invisible and forgotten’.
She then reminded people about the sad truth, adding: ‘A friendly “hello” or “how are you?” is something most of us take for granted – it’s just part of every day life.
‘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.’