Almost a fifth of over 65s in Wales (19%) are not looking forward to this Christmas according to Age Cymru's research.
Our figures show that 114,000 older people are dreading the festive period.
Of these, a third (33%) say they are not looking forward to Christmas because of memories of loved ones who have passed away.
“I dread Christmas”, says Jean, who is a widow in her late seventies from Cardiff.
She lost her husband two years ago.
As Jean explains, she used to enjoy Christmas when her husband was alive:
“For years, we had five Christmas trees and trimmings all around the house and we always had people staying with us.
“My house was Christmas and my late husband was ‘Mr Christmas’.”
But all that changed when Jean’s husband died:
“You wouldn’t know it was Christmas if you came to my house now.
“There’s no Christmas cards being put up and I don’t send any either and I don’t have any special food because being by yourself it’s just not the same.
“I never realised what isolation and loneliness were until I was left on my own and I just want Christmas to be over and done with.”
Age Cymru's Chief Executive Ian Thomas says:
“It is time to take loneliness seriously.
“The passing away of a loved one is never easy and we’re often reminded of our losses on anniversaries and events such as Christmas.
“As our figures show, there are tens of thousands of older people in Wales who are dreading Christmas.
“Christmas should be a happy time but for too many older people it is a sad occasion.
“People’s social networks often shrink due to life-changing events such as retirement and bereavement which can increase the risk of feeling lonely.
“This is why it is so important and that we are aware of the situation facing people like Jean and that we show them kindness, consideration and love.
“Voluntary sector services like Age Cymru’s have never been more important because funding cuts are forcing many of the local services that help older people stay connected, such as lunch clubs, to scale down or close.”
Age Cymru’s annual Spread the Warmth campaign supports isolated and vulnerable older people across Wales through the cold winter months.
Contact Age Cymru’s fundraising team for a Spread the Warmth information pack on 029 2043 1555, or email them.