Loneliness can be as bad for your health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day . Worst of all, when older people experience loneliness, they are more likely to suffer from things like depression and cognitive decline .
Older people become socially isolated for a number of reasons, including poor health, leaving the workplace and losing a spouse. But this year, millions of older people face spending the festive season alone because of the pandemic.
It’s more important than ever that older people get the support they need. So to gain a clearer picture of how the pandemic is affecting the elderly, and what needs to be done to combat loneliness, we surveyed over 500 people aged 65 and over. Here is what we found.
More than half of over-65s are worried about spending Christmas without their family
One of the biggest worries for those we surveyed was the prospect of spending Christmas without their family. Over half said they were worried about spending the festive season without their loved ones, and many indicated that the thought of being alone made them feel hopeless about the future.
“I seem to have nothing to look forward to now and the prospect of Christmas looks grim.”
One of the more startling insights was the fact that some participants suggested they would break lockdown restrictions rather than go through Christmas alone, supporting comments made earlier in the year by Baroness Greengross, who said older people were likely to prioritise seeing their family over staying alive.
“I will see them at Xmas whatever the rules!”