Why no one should have no one this Christmas
No one should have no one at Christmas. Here's why we're working with Age UK on this year's Christmas appeal, and the best ways for you to get involved.
For most, Christmas is usually a time for celebration with those you love. It’s an opportunity to create memories and enjoy traditions with family, friends and colleagues. The build-up to Christmas is often an exciting and busy time. However, this isn’t always the case for older people. For some, it can reinforce feelings of loss, loneliness and of life passing them by.
Last year, Age UK found that around a quarter of all over-65s—nearly three million older people*—aren’t looking forward to Christmas, with around 555,000** of them saying it’s because the festive season brings back too many memories of loved ones who’ve passed away.
Loneliness can be a personally devastating experience and also a serious public health issue, undermining older people’s quality of life, well-being and resilience. Age UK takes the issue seriously because it’s not only unpleasant, it’s also profoundly damaging to older people—with evidence clearly showing that feeling lonely is associated with poor physical and mental health.
Read more: How to help lonely people this Christmas
Age UK has supported older people such as John, who came to his local Age UK following his wife’s dementia diagnosis. They put him in contact with a nearby dementia cafe, which he attends regularly with his wife. This has been a lifeline—he’s enjoyed meeting new friends and being able to talk regularly with people.
And Lisa, 81, says she felt like a “non-person” with nothing going on in her life following her husband’s death, almost as though she didn’t exist. “Age UK wrapped their arms around me from the moment I walked in the door. Coming here has literally brought me back to life. I was ready to give up, but these groups give me something to live for and I absolutely love it.”
Age UK is doing everything it can to help older people through a range of services, which provide friendship and support. Not having someone there regularly can be lonely and isolating, but a friendly chat on the phone, a visit from a volunteer or connecting with the local community can make all the difference.
With Christmas round the corner, Age UK is urging everybody to support its “No one should have no one at Christmas” campaign.
If you're feeling lonely, or you're worried about a lonely person near you, call Age UK for free help or advice on 0800 169 65 65 65
* The exact figure is 2,736,000 people. TNS polling for Age UK: fieldwork 14/11/15–25/10/15. Base sample: 1,793, all adults aged 65+ in the UK.
** The exact figure is 547,200 people. TNS polling for Age UK: fieldwork 14/11/15–25/10/15. Base sample: 1,793, all adults aged 65+ in the UK.