Money worries mean millions of older people will be cutting back on social activities this Christmas as the cost of living crisis deepens, increasing the risk of loneliness. Age UK is calling on the public to a make a difference through making a donation or friendly phone call, or dropping in for a chat.
Following the launch of Age UK’s Christmas campaign, the Charity has released new research which shows that this Christmas will be one of the hardest yet for almost 3 million (2.9 million) older people, with almost as many (2.7 million) saying they worry they’ll have to reduce their social activities because of the cost of living crisis.
This is why Age UK is calling for urgent donations this Christmas to support its services, including its Telephone Friendship Service and Advice Line, so that they can continue to be there for everyone who needs them.
Age UK’s new research shows how frightened many older people are about surviving the next few months, with significant numbers anticipating a more solitary and lonely Christmas than usual this year, because of a lack of money. The Charity’s new figures show that 1.3 million older people are expecting to feel lonely this Christmas, but loneliness is also a major issue among our older population all year round: for example, half (49%) say they rely on television and radio for company, which is why Age UK is encouraging everyone to extend the hand of friendship to older people over the festive season.
On the brighter side, Age UK’s research also found that 5 million older people say a phone call from a friend or loved one would help them this Christmas time, and nearly the same proportion (4.9 million) said someone coming to visit them, or being visited by a friend or loved one, would help them. The Charity is encouraging everyone to check in with an older person this festive period, whether that’s over the phone, popping in for a cup of tea, or even offering to lend a hand by running some errands.
Dame Judi Dench, Age UK supporter, said: “Loneliness is an awful thing to experience, and I think it’s fair to say that a lot of us, myself included, have had a taster of what it’s like in recent years.
“Having somebody to talk to can change everything, it can change a person’s life. Age UK can do this, they are there at the end of the phone for the older people who need them, but we must support them so they can carry on being there – donate today at www.ageuk.org.uk/christmasappeal.”
Age UK also urgently needs more Telephone Friendship Service volunteers, so for anyone interested in becoming a telephone friend and helping an older person please visit: www.ageuk.org.uk/friend Age UK has also released a new film, titled Fred’s World, to raise awareness of the issue of loneliness amongst older people.