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Roy sits in his living room, in front of a small Christmas tree, looking thoughtful

Now more than ever, no one should have no one

At the close of what has been, for many, a terrifying and isolating year, older people are looking ahead to a Christmas like no other in living memory. We're determined to be there.

Before the outbreak of coronavirus, we were already facing a loneliness epidemic amongst older people. But as a result of the pandemic, this crisis has intensified.

We’re working hard to relieve the isolation and despair felt by so many, but this Christmas could be the loneliest yet for the older people most in need. People like Roy, Marjorie and Amrita, whose stories you can read on this page. 

More than 850,000 older people could be spending this Christmas alone. 

Help us be there for them. 

"Life is so lonely when you are on your own"

Roy was devastated when his wife, Maggie, passed away a few years ago. When the pandemic began, he found himself even more shut off from the world.

Thankfully Roy called Age UK, and we were able to arrange for him to receive weekly friendship calls through our Telephone Friendship Service. It’s made a life-changing difference, and Roy now knows there's someone to reach out when he feels most alone.

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.

"I'd like to go to sleep on Christmas eve and not wake up until New Year’s Day and miss the whole thing."

Despite being fiercely independent and self-reliant, 98-year-old Marjorie has health problems that make life difficult – especially as she lives on her own. Now, with the threat of coronavirus and further restrictions, this Christmas is looking even harder.

Marjorie’s silver lining is her weekly calls from Age UK’s Telephone Friendship Service. She loves the regular conversations, telling us it makes her feel like there are people in the room with her again.

Thanks to our supporters, the Age UK Advice Line is open 365 days a year, including Christmas day, providing answers and reassurance to older people who have no one else to turn to. If you or someone you know needs support, call us free on 0800 678 1602, 8am to 7pm.  

"Loneliness is awful, but Age UK makes it more bearable."

92-year-old Amrita has found the pandemic particularly difficult as she loves to be around other people. She told us that at times she resorted to talking to herself for company.

Our Telephone Friendship Service has helped Amrita rediscover the joy of conversation. She told us that as soon as she picks up the phone with her befriender, she barely stops talking!

If there was ever a time when Age UK’s services were desperately needed, it is now.

We cannot let older people suffer alone. Not this year. Not ever.

But we need help urgently if we're to be there for the thousands depending on us this Christmas.

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