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Older people worried about loneliness at Christmas

Published on 12 December 2014 12:01 AM

Nearly 400,000 older people are worried about being lonely this Christmas

Age UK calls for vital donations to help fight loneliness over the festive season

New research by Age UK reveals that nearly 400,000[i] people aged 65 plus in the UK are worried about being lonely this Christmas. In addition, it showed that there are 2.5 million (23%) older people who are not looking forward to Christmas this year with nearly 650,000[ii] saying it's because the festive season brings back too many memories of those who have passed away.

Loneliness is a huge issue that affects people all year round but it can become even harder during the winter months with over two million people[iii] (19 per cent) worried about not being able to get out and about as much because of shorter, darker days and poor weather conditions. This winter the Charity is calling for donations to help fight loneliness through its vital national and local services.

Caroline Abrahams, Charity Director of Age UK, said: 'No one should feel lonely at any time of the year. The festive season is usually a time for celebration with loved ones and these figures come as a timely reminder of the scale of the issue.

'People's social networks often shrink due to life-changing events such as retirement and bereavement which can increase the risk of feeling lonely. Voluntary sector services like Age UK's have never been more important because funding cuts are forcing many of the local services that help older people stay connected, such as lunch clubs, to scale down or close. It is time to take loneliness seriously and that's why we're asking everyone to take action by donating today to help us support older people to enjoy the festive season and the year to come.'

There is something that everyone can do to help fight loneliness whether it's helping to put an older person in contact with their local Age UK or popping in to check on an older neighbour or relative to help make the festive season something to look forward to.

Age UK helps to prevent and reduce loneliness by supporting a range of services and activities such as a friendly telephone call, weekly visits, social activities such as lunch clubs exercise classes and tea-dances, advice when there's nowhere to turn, and the chance to get out and about in the local community, all of which play a crucial part in helping make later life better. Regular contact from local Age UK services can be life-changing and give older people the confidence they need to feel more connected and less isolated.

To support Age UK's vital work people can donate by calling 0800 169 8787 or visiting www.ageuk.org.uk/get-involved/loneliness. 

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 by calling Age UK Advice for free on 0800 169 65 65.

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Media contacts

For more information please contactKaren Richards at Age UK on 020 3033 1428 or email Karen.Richards@ageuk.org.uk, or Sara Guy at Age UK on 020 3033 1466 or email sara.guy@ageuk.org.uk

Notes to editors

Age UK research

Winter Omnibus Survey by TNS Omnibus was compiled on behalf of Age UK and ran from 08/1014-14/10/14 to a contact sample of 1,248 people aged 65 plus in the United Kingdom.

Estimated numbers of people: grossed figures, using mid-2013 Population Estimates for the UK, Office for National Statistics, 2014.

i, ii Winter Omnibus Survey by TNS Omnibus 2014: 3.6% of older people cited ‘being lonely over the Christmas period' as a concern for the coming winter. Mid-2013 Population Estimates for the UK, Office for National Statistics, 2014.

iii Actual figure is 2.1 million. Winter Omnibus Survey by TNS Omnibus 2014.

1Text Costs £5.00 plus network charge. Age UK receives 100% of your donation. Obtain bill payers permission. Customer Relations 0800 169 8787. Charity No 1128267.

Age UK

We work with our national partners, Age Scotland, Age Cymru and Age NI and our local Age UK partners in England (together the Age UK Family). 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 believes that everyone should have the opportunity to make the most of later life, whatever their circumstances. We provide free information, advice and support to over six 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.

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).

Last updated: Oct 06 2017

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