More Than Half A Million Older People In The UK Will Be Lonely This Christmas
It's easy to get swept away by Christmas - allowing yourself to be wafted into the festive spirit at the first sniff of some warm, gently spiced mulled wine.
It's a heartwarming time of year, where everything gets covered in twinkling lights, sausages get wrapped in bacon and you get mightily pissed each evening.
But while many of us see Christmas as an opportunity to come together with those we love (yep, even if that's just to sit on the sofa and fall asleep to The Sound of Music), not everyone finds it quite so magical.
New research from national charity Age UK has found that half a million older people across the UK are expecting to feel lonely this Christmas - with half of them saying loneliness has simply become a 'normal' part of life.
More than 530,000 people aged 65 and over also admitted that they're not looking forward to Christmas because for them, it's 'just another day', and over 230,000 older people will also sadly be on their own at least one day over the Christmas period between Christmas Eve and New Year's Day, because that's 'just how it is'.
Many said the festive period isn't something to look forward to because it brings back too many memories of people who have passed away and happier times.
Caroline Abrahams, Age UK Charity Director, said: "There is far more awareness now of the problem of loneliness and as a result I think many families and friends make a real effort to be kind to older people, especially at this time of year.
"However, as our new research shows, sadly, some older people are still being left out in the cold and have no one at all to turn to for advice or support. So as well as doing your bit to be friendly to the older people you know please support us so we can be there for those who really are almost always on their own. No one should have to live like that in old age."
The analysis also found that 1.7 million elderly people haven't met up with a friend in a month, and that 300,000 over-65s have not even had a conversation with family or friends in that time.
As part of its Christmas campaign, Age UK is urging people to think about their older relatives, friends and neighbours throughout the festive period, in order to help curb isolation among older communities.
Age UK Ambassador Joanna Lumley OBE, said: "We can see from this latest research that so many older people accept loneliness as part of life, so my plea is to take action for yourself or an older relative or friend who you think might be feeling isolated - call Age UK and find out what support might be available for you locally, or donate to Age UK and help them to support older people in need."
Featured Image Credit: Age UK / PA