Christmas is a special time for most people but according to research released today, over half a million older people (510,302) in Briton feel lonelier on Christmas Day than any other time of the year.
The stark findings revealed by older people’s charity, Royal Voluntary Service, highlight the extent to which older people are forced to spend the day by themselves without the support of friends and family.
Of the 375,506 over 75’s who will spend Christmas Day alone2, the survey reveals that 41 per cent wished they had someone to spend the day with and over 40 per cent (44 per cent) said they don’t expect to see anyone on Christmas Day.
Often older people aren’t reaching out for help because they feel ashamed or a burden – 10 per cent said they felt embarrassed about spending Christmas Day alone. Many just don’t feel like getting in the festive spirit at all with 36 per cent saying there is no point cooking Christmas dinner for one.
Felicity Kendal, Royal Voluntary Service Ambassador said: “Many of us take for granted being surrounded by friends and family over the festive period and assume it’s what happens for most people every year. As we get older, our social circles start to shrink and sadly many older people find themselves alone on Christmas Day. Spare a thought for an older neighbour who might not have any visitors this Christmas and if you are able to, pop round to see how they are and to have a chat and a festive drink.”
David McCullough, Chief Executive of Royal Voluntary Service said: “For most of us Christmas is a time for celebration and to spend time with friends and family, but for older people spending Christmas alone this year, it can also be a painfully lonely time. Many older people are used to having long periods of time without company but it can be particularly difficult to spend Christmas alone, feeling as though everyone else is enjoying themselves.
“We urge everyone to spare a little time and thought this Christmas for older people in their community who may be spending the festive period alone. Inviting them to pop over to celebrate the festive period could make all the difference to their Christmas.”
Royal Voluntary Service offers a number of services during the festive period from lunch clubs to social activities, to a lift to a festive event or Christmas Shopping through its community transport service. Find out what support you can get in your area by visiting: http://www.royalvoluntaryservice.org.uk/get-help