Probably most of us, by now, have heard the warnings. An epidemic of loneliness is a major public health crisis, with those affected as at risk as if they were smoking 15 a day.

Age Scotland says it is a stark reality for 100,000 older people. The Scottish Government is currently consulting on its loneliness and social isolation strategy - the first, it claims, in the UK and one of the first in the world. Yet for all the creativity and imagination being poured in to tackling the problem, this isn’t rocket science.

Yes, everyone at Glasgow’s recent loneliness summit loved the chickens visiting from Equal Arts’ HenPower project. But not everyone who is lonely is going to warm to a Rhode Island Red and bringing farmyard birds to visit won’t be practical for every care home where people feel isolated.

When it comes down to it, the answers to loneliness aren’t that complicated. For example: better connected communities, more people taking more time to find out about their neighbours, and a reduction in the stigma that attaches to even admitting that you might be lonely.

But just because these answers aren’t complicated doesn’t mean they are easy.

Families are more fragmented and with busy lives many of us have lost the habit of making connections in the communities where we stay. Older people who have watched their address books depleted as friends or relatives die may be reluctant to invest in new relationships.

But that’s not the half of it. While the Scottish Government boasts the importance of its strategy, councils across the country have been axing day centres and other services which used to help people get out and meet each other. The Royal Voluntary Service is cutting back on Meals on Wheels services where funding has been lost.

Then there is ageism to contend with: One astonishing fact quoted at the summit that while 50 per cent of young people who are depressed are referred on to mental health services, only six per cent of depressed older people are.

Meanwhile the woeful provision of community transport in many parts of Scotland makes it immeasurably more difficult for people to get out and about and maintain social connections, even when the services are there. During the recent snow, in the west of Scotland many regulars at events, clubs and projects were unable even to leave home safely because transport was inadequate, roads weren’t gritted or their neighbours have lost the habit of clearing their paths.

The Scottish Government says communities are vital to helping tackle social isolation and it has “begun to empower them to make decisions that help them address their unique priorities”.

What does this gobbledygook mean? It needs to mean ministers will tackle some of these underlying issues, not just demand communities set up choirs, knitting and carer support groups. It has to look at the limited transport options in many of our communities, the fact few of us now know our neighbours and the sense of failure attached to loneliness means the problem of stigma is significant and real.