Charity Director, Age UK
While Christmas for most of us is something to look forward to, it is not always the case for our elderly generation, but together we can change this.
If you are on your own, as many older people are, Christmas can seem like ‘just another day’, but if you are lonely, the special nature of the festive season can actually be quite painful, reinforcing a sense of missing out. Our research has found that among the over 65s, almost 1.5 million people (12%) say that they often feel more lonely at Christmas than at any other time of year.
Being lonely in later life
Our research has found that among the over-65s, almost 1.5 million people (12%) say that they often feel more lonely at Christmas than at any other time of year.
As we age, we accumulate years of life experience, lots of it positive but some quite difficult and sad. As the years go by, you may well find you are going to rather more funerals than weddings. In addition, the pandemic has resulted in more loss and fewer opportunities to mourn together than usual.
At a time of year when almost everything closes down, Age UK’s advice line stays open, even on Christmas Day. Last year it was a lifeline for more than 30,000 older people who phoned over the Christmas period. This year we expect to be busier than ever due to calls from older people with no one else to turn to.
Ways you can help
There are plenty of simple things we can all to do to help the older people around us to feel supported over the festive season, such as:
- Sharing time together over coffee or lunch.
- Sending a homemade card or gift.
- Being a good neighbour e.g. by offering to collect shopping, which is especially appreciated in bad weather.
- Sharing the Age UK and The Silver Line helpline numbers for practical information, advice or a cheerful chat, day or night.
Together we can all help make Christmas a little brighter for older people.