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90,000 older people will be eating dinner alone on Christmas Day this year

Published on 17 December 2019 12:22 PM

A new survey for Age UK’s No one should have no one to turn to campaign finds that Christmas is the loneliest time of the year for over 200,000 older people in the North West, with those who have been widowed feeling it the most.

Age UK’s research found that more than three-quarters (77%) of over 65s in the North West agree that the first Christmas after losing someone you love is the hardest, and with up to 21,000 older people in the region estimated to face their first Christmas without their spouse, the Charity is calling on the public for support.

Across the UK, the research found that over 750,000 older widowed people often feel more lonely over Christmas than at any other time of the year; with over 200,000 older widows and widowers not looking forward to the festive season because they will be alone.

The campaign, No one should have no one to turn to, is shining a light on how tough this time of year can be for many older people, especially if they are on their own having lost their partner. As part of the campaign, the Charity has released a new report, You are not alone, which looks in more detail at what we know about the impacts of bereavement and shares some of the stories of those who have reached out to the Charity following a painful loss.

According to the Charity’s survey, more than a quarter of a million older people in the North West aren’t looking forward to Christmas this year, and for many it brings back too many memories of people who have passed away and of happier times.

As well as raising awareness of these problems and encouraging people to support the older people around them, No one should have no one to turn to is asking the public to donate to Age UK Cheshire, so it can continue to be there for everyone who needs them.

Whilst most of us will sit down with family and friends to enjoy an annual Christmas Dinner this won’t be the case for everyone. In the North West, over 90,000 older people will be eating dinner alone on Christmas Day this year, and across the UK around one in 10 of over 80s will be dining alone.

Loneliness can be and is experienced at any point in life, but people aged 50 and over in England are five times more likely to be often lonely if they are widowed compared to those who have a partner.

Dale Maskell at Age UK Cheshire said “Many of us look forward to Christmas in anticipation of having a lovely time with those we love, but unfortunately that’s not how it is for some older people, especially if they are already feeling sad and alone. Bereavement is a very common experience in later life but that doesn’t make it any easier to cope with, and Christmas is a particular challenge if you are facing it on your own, with just your memories and perhaps the television or a pet for company, to see you through.”

“Age UK Cheshire wants to be there for those who find themselves in this situation and for all those older people in Cheshire who are feeling lonely or troubled in the run up to Christmas for any other reason too. That’s why we are urging everyone to get involved in the campaign and donate to help us be here for older people who literally have no one to turn to. Sadly, there are far too many of them in our society at the moment.”

Age UK Cheshire is working hard to combat loneliness through a range of services and activities, such as lunch clubs, day activities groups and advice and support when there’s no one else to turn to.

Older people and their families or friends can call Age UK Cheshire on 01606 881660 or visit www.ageukcheshire.org.uk

Age UK Cheshire is encouraging people to get behind the campaign and to donate to help ensure that the Charity’s essential services and support can continue to be there for older people and their families. To find out how you can support Age UK Cheshire by donating go to our Donate page: Donate