Societal changes are having a devastating impact on older people at Christmas, Royal Voluntary Service warns today.
Last Christmas, 2013, more than 300,000 over 75s were believed to have spent Christmas Day alone (The GB population of people aged 75 over according to ONS (2011) is 4,814,174. 7% of people surveyed said they would spend the day alone with a phone call. 7% of 4,814,174 equals 336,992 people.) and this year, that figure is set to rise as nearly half a million (489,808) older people are at risk of spending the day alone ( 5.9% of over 75s will be spending the day alone and a further 4.1% said they don’t know if they’ll have anyone to spend the day with. ONS data in 2012 for over 75s is 4,898,086 and 10% equals 489,808 people.)
Royal Voluntary Service research found the most common reason older people are set to be lonely this Christmas was family living far away or even in a different country, with nearly 31 per cent of over 75s who will be spending the day alone saying this is why.
Others are saying it is because they don’t speak to their children any more or because they won’t want to put their busy family under any more pressure at Christmas. Sadly, a small number admit they simply haven’t been invited to spend the day with anyone.
Nearly half (45 per cent) of over 75s, say they think families are fragmented now and under a lot of pressure, with older people easily forgotten. Technological advances, although welcomed by charities for those times when face to face contact isn’t possible, it seems has replaced an actual visit with 47 per cent saying technology means people make less effort to actually see each other.
With the majority of older people wanting a traditional Christmas spent in company (87 per cent) Royal Voluntary Service has partnered with Community Christmas for 2014, with the aim that no older person should have to spend Christmas alone if they don’t want to.
The website is a portal where those who are holding events, activities or offering support to older people on Christmas Day can register them. It provides a one-stop-shop for older people, their families, friends and carers to search for options near them on Christmas Day.
For further details visit http://www.royalvoluntaryservice.org.uk