NEW research commissioned as part of Age UK’s Spread the Warmth campaign reveals that sadly over a quarter of people over 65 living in the South East are not looking forward to Christmas this year.
Isolation and loneliness is a huge issue affecting many older people across the country and can be felt particularly hard during the difficult winter months. Three million people across the country have said that they are not looking forward to Christmas this year[ii]; when asked why 18 per cent (540,000) said it was because they were going to be on their own. Also, 28 per cent (840,000) of people said that Christmas brought back too many memories of those who had passed away.
Over 400,000 people over 65 stated that being lonely over the Christmas period was their main concern and 2.1 million people (over a fifth) were worried about not being able to get out and about as much because of shorter, darker days and poor weather conditions.
Michelle Mitchell, Charity Director General of Age UK, said: “Living in isolation and loneliness is a stark reality for too many people in later life in London and South East. “We know that not being able to get out of the house and socialise with others is linked to feelings of isolation and the adverse impact on a person’s wellbeing of feeling lonely has been likened to that of obesity and smoking. “Age UK’s Spread the Warmth campaign aims to tackle not only the physical but also the emotional issues faced by older people during winter.
“We’re calling on everyone to do their bit to help lessen the impact of winter for older people this year.” This winter as many as 25,000 older people could die needlessly because of the cold. That’s around 200 preventable deaths a day. Age UK and its local and national partners are working to keep older people warm and well. We’re providing social activities and contact for older people, as well as tips on combating the cold at home and outdoors. We’re keeping people warm and safe at home, giving out hot nutritious meals and offering information and advice 365 days a year. We’re also calling on the Government to boost the energy efficiency of older people’s homes. Act now to Spread the Warmth and help hundreds of thousands of older people. Older people and their families can call Age UK Advice for free on 0800 169 65 65, where they can also order a free copy of ‘Winter wrapped up’ with a free thermometer. Alternatively they can visit www.spreadthewarmth.org.uk to download the guide, get more information about the Spread the Warmth campaign and find out where their local Age UK office or shop is. There are lots of ways to help Age UK Spread the Warmth this winter. People can make a donation simply by calling 0800 169 87 87 or visiting www.spreadthewarmth.org.uk.