It was not until Trevor Robinson received a letter notifying him of a missed appointment at the hospital that he realised he had not spoken to another human being in more than six weeks.

Robinson, a 77-year-old retired landscape gardener, had spent most of that time alone, sitting on his favourite frayed leather recliner looking out the window at the moorland surrounding his cottage in the northwestern county of Cumbria.

"When you spend every second by yourself, you lose track of time," he said as tears trickled down his face. "I feel lonely, very lonely, and bored."

Robinson's isolation, shared

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