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Monday, 18 October 2021
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Older population concerned they won’t see friends and family this Christmas

AGE UK North, South & West Dorset calls for vital donations so it can be there for those who have no one to turn to. New findings show the public has stepped up to support older people through the pandemic, and we need to keep the support going through the winter.

More than 200,000 older people in the South West are expecting to feel lonely this Christmas according to Age UK’s new research for its No one should have no one campaign.

Winter is always a tough time for older people – dark nights, short days and cold, often wet weather make it harder to get outside. These challenges combined with pandemic restrictions mean that chance encounters – like catching up with neighbours on the street or friendly chats at the supermarket – are less likely right now, yet they can make a big difference to those who are almost always on their own or feeling lonely.

Research carried out by Age UK has previously found that following months of staying inside, some older people have lost confidence in doing day-to-day activities they previously took in their stride, and are no longer taking pleasure from things they used to enjoy. With the worst of winter still very much to come and COVID-19 continuing to represent a threat to older people, the Charity is worried that many will find the next few weeks and months particularly tough to navigate, especially if they are on their own.

The good news from these new findings is that people have stepped up to support our older population during the pandemic, which has made a huge and much-appreciated difference – nearly half of older people in the South West say they wouldn’t have got through the pandemic without their friends, highlighting the power of friendships and human connection, which older people need now more than ever before.

However, while more than 600,000 older people in the South West have had someone call them for a chat because of their situation during the pandemic, sadly this isn’t the case for everyone. Recent ONS figures show that, across Great Britain, 2.2 million of over 60s say that haven’t had anyone to talk to about their worries and sadly 2.2 million said they felt like they are a burden on others.

For many older people, Age UK North, South & West Dorset will be their lifeline this winter, and the Charity is calling for donations to help fund its vital services which include befriending.

Older population concerned they won’t see friends and family this Christmas
Dave Thorp

CEO, Dave Thorp at Age UK North, South & West Dorset said:

“This seems set to be a festive period like we have never experienced before, and not one any of us would want to navigate on our own. At the best of times, Christmas can be bitter-sweet for many older people, but this year they are going to need our support even more than usual.

“We want to be there with anyone who finds themselves in that position this winter, but we can only do it with the public’s support, so please do donate to our campaign this year if you can.”

This winter will be like no other, yet far too many older people are facing this challenging and uncertain time alone. To find out how you can support Age UK North, South & West Dorset by donating go to our web site https://www.ageuk.org.uk/northsouthwestdorset/ or call 01305 269444.

Older people and their families or friends who need support can call Age UK North, South & West Dorset on 01305 269444 or visit https://www.ageuk.org.uk/northsouthwestdorset/

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