Half a million older people alone at Christmas
Published on 21 December 2011 10:30 AM
Christmas is about spending time with family and friends but over half a million older people spent Christmas Day alone last year according to new figures released today by Age UK.
As part of its annual Spread the Warmth campaign, Age UK is urging people to make a difference this Christmas and spread a little cheer by making an effort to visit older relatives and neighbours they know during the festive period.
Living in isolation and loneliness is a stark reality for many older people all year round, not just at Christmas time, with nearly one million over 65-year-olds only seeing close friends or family once a month or less.
Age UK's Spread the Warmth campaign aims to provide information, advice and practical services to help older people keep warm and well in the colder winter months, and prevent many thousands from being left isolated and alone.
Everyone can get involved in the Spread the Warmth campaign this winter.
If you know of an older people person feeling lonely, call our advice line for free on 0800 169 65 65 to see how we can help. You can also help lonely older people by volunteering at your local Age UK to help provide a range of vital services - from befriending to lunch clubs and day centre activities.
Another way to support our work is by donating your unloved coats to our Donate a Coat initiative. Simply drop your coats into one of our 450+ high street shops, or make a cash donation by calling 0800 169 87 87 or visiting www.spreadthewarmth.org.uk, and you'll help raise vital funds for vulnerable older people.
Helena Herklots, Services Director at Age UK, commented: 'Christmas is a time for giving and sharing love and friendship. By popping in to check on an older neighbour we know and by making time for older relatives we can all help to make sure that everyone has a happy and warm Christmas.
'No one should be lonely at Christmas.'
Our Spread the Warmth campaign
We launched our Spread the Warmth campaign as too many older people are suffering and dying needlessly in winter because of the effects of cold weather. Age UK and our local and national partners are aiming to make winter warmer for 360,000 older people this year.
Our services include getting warm and nutritious meals to older people, helping to keep homes warm, and giving free information and advice 365 days a year.