Loneliness among the over-65s could be tackled by training more older people to use the internet, a report by a centre-right think tank has suggested.
Policy Exchange has called for every person in the UK to be taught basic digital skills, including how to send emails and use social networking sites.
Training 6.2 million people without basic digital skills would cost £875m by 2020, or £141 per person, it said.
It said training would help pensioners stay connected with friends and family.
Policy Exchange says around 40% of people aged 65 or over in the UK do not have access to the internet at home, while more than five million people have never used the internet.
The report predicts an increasingly elderly population will face a “major challenge” in the future and risk being isolated as families move further apart for work.
With the number of people aged 85 or above set to double over the next 20 years, it says such training will yield “huge” economic and social benefits for the UK.