Ever since I became Channel 5 weather presenter in 2010, I've been aware of this growing problem. In that year, we had one of the coldest winters on record - 'Snowmageddon', the tabloids coined it. But this movie-like scenario had no happy Hollywood ending. Thousands of 'excess' deaths were caused by the extreme conditions five years ago, and the death toll has been rising ever since. So, you're probably thinking, how can this be possible in a first world, affluent country? Surely we're all used to the British weather by now?
The ONS' conclusion is foreboding, stating that the problem will only get worse given the UK's ageing population. The term 'chronically lonely' is now regularly being used to describe the condition. What can be done? It is an issue very close to my heart and I believe that we can all play a part in tackling loneliness.
Unless the social care funding position improves the future looks bleak for older people like Milly and hundreds of thousands like her. It also threatens to bring our hospitals to a grinding halt, because every day many older people are in hospital beds when really they are medically fit to go home, owing simply to a shortage of social care.
What the UK is experiencing is a loneliness epidemic. It is the sheer number of older people suffering from loneliness and social isolation which blights the UK's position as one of the best places in the world to grow old. This isn't going away or getting any better, and it's not something we can shy away from.