A South Wales pensioner has recorded a special Christmas video message for Age Cymru.
In the film, Joy Matthews, a 77-year-old widow from Machen near Caerphilly, speaks about the difficulties she experiences at this time of year.
Joy tells us about loneliness at Christmas time and of sometimes feeling like a burden on friends and family.
“You hear all these Christmas songs in the shops - ‘It’ll be lonely this Christmas’, and I thought ‘Yes, it will be for a lot of people’, and Christmas day sometimes is no different from the rest of the year.
“’You can’t be on your own on Christmas day?’ – that’s what people say.
“They forget you’re on your own another 364 days of the year and they couldn’t care less, also they have forty fits if you say ‘No, I can’t be on my own – I’m coming up your house’.
“They wouldn’t like that at all” comments Joy.
“I am reasonably content with my own company, but at the weekend and the [Christmas] holidays when nobody can be bothered, it can be lonely with no human contact.”
Joy has worked with Age Cymru to produce the film as part of our Spread the Warmth campaign.
Spread the Warmth is Age Cymru’s annual campaign to prevent thousands of older people suffering needlessly during the winter.
Our research shows:
• 22% (129,000) older people in Wales are not looking forward to this Christmas;
• 21% (27,000) of older people who were not looking forward to Christmas said that it brought back too many memories of those who had passed away;
Age Cymru’s Chief Executive Officer, Ian Thomas, says:
“We’re very grateful to Joy for giving us her personal insight into the realities of Christmas and the winter months for many pensioners across Wales.
“This should be a time of happiness when we can look forward to being with our families and friends and to enjoying each other’s company.
“But, as Joy explains, it can instead be a lonely time when older people can feel that they are a burden on those closest to them.
"This is why Spread the Warmth - Age Cymru’s annual campaign to prevent thousands of older people in Wales suffering needlessly in winter, is so important.
“Funds raised by Spread the Warmth are used to provide Winter Celebration Grants to groups across Wales so that we can bring some cheer to those who are alone or isolated at Christmas.“
Members of the public can support the Spread the Warmth campaign by contacting Age Cymru on 029 2043 1555 and asking for a ‘Winter Warmer’ pack.