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Terry sat in a chair, lit by a wreath of lights

Help make this Christmas a little brighter for a lonely older person

Because no one should have no one.

Christmas is meant to be a time of joy and light. But imagine having nobody to pull a cracker with. No one to exchange a gift and share a hug with. Not a single soul to wish you a Merry Christmas.

Terry, Michael and Connie know what the pain of feeling alone and isolated, as they explain in their stories below, but also what it’s like to find a light in the darkness through the gift of friendship.

Almost 1.5 million older people feel more lonely at Christmas than any other time of year. 

Will you help make it brighter? 

“Loneliness is horror, it feels awful”  

Terry has suffered the losses of her husband and her son, which left her feeling sad and alone. Sometimes she’d go a week without speaking to anyone or hearing another person’s voice.

Terry turns 98 on Christmas Eve, but Christmas was tough for her last year, after a fall resulted in a broken hip. She was feeling low, but with the support of Tabitha, her telephone befriender, Terry was able to feel more hopeful. “Thanks to Age UK I’ve got a friend I can rely on.”

The Age UK Telephone Friendship Service gives older people the joy of a weekly phone call. At the height of the pandemic, we saw a 300% increase in the numbers of older people requesting this service. We're braced for another increase this Christmas.

“Christmas, for me, is like being in a lockdown” 

There have been Christmasses when Michael hasn’t received a single card. There was a time when no one wrote to him at all and the phone never rang. He describes the loneliness he felt then as “devastating”.

Thankfully, his calls with telephone befriender Gemma have given him something to look forward to — a point in the week when he can hear a familiar voice and discuss his passions for history, books and films.

In a year where we’ve seen an increased reliance on our telephone support services – with 31,471 calls made to our Advice Line last Christmas alone – we need help from people like you.  

“Seeing my family on Christmas Day just reminds me how lonely I am the rest of the year” 

93-year-old Connie became increasingly isolated during the coronavirus pandemic, spending day after day alone, which often left her feeling unhappy.

After being encouraged to contact Age UK and join the Telephone Friendship Service, Connie now looks forward to a weekly call from her telephone friend, Hayley.

We cannot let older people continue to suffer in the darkness of severe loneliness.

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