Help prevent loneliness at Christmas
Published on 23 December 2011 10:30 AM
Help prevent half a million older people
spending Christmas Day alone this year
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, preventing many thousands from being left isolated and alone.
Everyone can get involved in the Spread the Warmth campaign this winter. Older people and their families can get in touch with Age UK to see how the charity could help someone who may be feeling lonely at this (or any) time of year by calling Age UK Advice for free on 0800 169 65 65. People can offer their time at a local Age UK in their area helping to provide a range of services for older people from befriending to lunch clubs and day centre activities, all vital services for those who might be isolated or lonely and which regularly need the support of volunteers.
People can also donate their unloved coats for Age UK's Donate a Coat initiative. By simply dropping their coats into one of Age UK's 450+ high street shops they can help raise funds for the Spread the Warmth campaign or simply make a cash donation by calling 0800 169 87 87 or visiting www.spreadthewarmth.org.uk
Helena Herklots, Services Director at Age UK, said: '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.'
Age UK has launched its Spread the Warmth campaign as too many older people are suffering and dying needlessly in winter because of the effects of cold weather. The Charity and its local and national partners are aiming to make winter warmer for 360,000 older people this year. Services Age UK offers include getting warm and nutritious meals to older people, helping to keep homes warm, and giving free information and advice 365 days a year.
Media contact: Sarah Scott
Telephone: 020 3033 1434
Out of hours: 07071243243
Notes to editors
*Christmas Omnibus Survey by TNS Omnibus was compiled on behalf of Age UK and ran from 18-27 November 2011 to a contact sample of c.1049 adults aged 65+ across the UK. The data is weighted to be representative of the UK population. Estimated numbers of people: grossed figures, using mid-2010 Population Estimates for the UK, Office for National Statistics, June 2011.
For media enquiries relating to Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland please contact the appropriate national office: Age Scotland on 0131 668 8055, Age Cymru on 029 2043 1562 and Age NI on 028 9024 5729.
Age UK is the new force combining Age Concern and Help the Aged, dedicated to improving later life.
We provide free information, advice and support to over five million people; commercial products and services to over one million customers; and research and campaign on the issues that matter to people in later life. Our work focuses on five key areas: money matters, health and well being, home and care, work and training and leisure and lifestyle. We work with our national partners, Age Scotland, Age Cymru and Age NI (together the Age UK Family), our local Age UK partners in England and local Age Concerns. We also work internationally for people in later life as a member of the DEC and with our sister charity Help Age International.
Age UK is a charitable company limited by guarantee and registered in England (registered charity number 1128267 and company number 6825798). Age Concern England and Help the Aged (both registered charities), and their trading and other associated companies merged on the 1st April 2009. Together they have formed the Age UK Group ("we"). Charitable services are offered through Age UK and commercial products are offered by the Charity's trading companies, which donate their net profits to Age UK (the Charity).