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Almost one in seven say they expect to feel sad, lonely or forgotten this Christmas, says Age Cymru

03 Dec 2022 4 minute read
Image from Age Cymru

Nearly a third of people aged over 65 in Wales say this Christmas will be one of their hardest yet due to cost-of-living crisis according to a new poll commissioned by Age Cymru.

Nearly a quarter of respondents reported that they are worried they’ll have to reduce their social activities due to the cost-of-living crisis and a further 13% saying they will struggle to see friends and family as much.

Age Cymru say this will be particularly hard for those who had little social activity during the pandemic and were looking forward to meeting friends and family during the festive season.

In response to the question ‘How will you feel this Christmas’? Approximately one in seven respondents said they expect to feel either sad, lonely or forgotten.

They said the main causes of loneliness were ‘I live on my own’, ‘I don’t have any family nearby’, ‘I rarely get visitors or phone calls’, and ’My family are busy and I don’t like to bother them’.

When asked what would help to make this Christmas btter, exactly half of the respondents said a call from a friend or loved one would help, while nearly half said someone visiting them. Nearly a third said getting out to a social activity such as a pub, cinema or dinner would help

Nearly half the respondents said having enough money would help, ‘so I don’t have to worry’, with nearly a fifth wanting more financial advice and support from the Government.

The poll also showed that older people are not just lonely at Christmas as 40% of respondents said throughout the year they rely on TV and radio for company while an estimated 17% said they visit supermarkets.

Huge challenges

The polling figures were released to coincide with the launch of the charity’s Christmas Fundraising Appeal to support Age Cymru Advice the charity’s advice service which helped older people claim more than £7.5 million pounds in benefits and entitlements last year.

The campaign will also support the charity’s Friend in Need service that pairs a lonely older person with a volunteer for a weekly friendship call. Last year, more than 9,100 friendship calls were made to older people in Wales as part of the service.

Age Cymru’s chief executive, Victoria Lloyd said “Winter can be a tough time for all of us but especially this year with the cost-of-living crisis coming quickly on the back of the pandemic. Poverty, isolation, and loneliness have long been huge challenges for many older people in Wales but in the run up to this Christmas they are more daunting than ever for some.

“It’s important to recognise that no matter how challenging life can sometimes seem that there is advice, help and support out there.  So please if you, or an older person you know, is struggling this winter don’t suffer in silence but reach out to us and we’ll do all we can to help.

“Communities throughout Wales provided fantastic support to older people during the pandemic and we’re urging you to do the same once again. Call or visit an older relative, friend, or neighbour during the festive season to share a chat over a cuppa and a mince pie.

“You could sign up to become a volunteer as part of our Friend in Need telephone friendship service.  Or you could donate to Age Cymru so we can continue to provide advice and expertise to older people that are struggling.”

For more information on how you can support us or to donate visit the website  or call 029 2043 1555.

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