Sad new research has found that more than 70,000 older people in the south west feel lonelier at Christmas. 

Alongside Age UK’s Christmas campaign No one Should have No one, it has produced a short film called Just Another Day which shines a light on the chronic loneliness which 1.2 million older people live with in England. 

Nearly half of the older people in the south west surveyed for Age UK, around 600,000 people aged 65 and over, feel their days can be repetitive. 

Based on the survey, the charity estimates that around 60,000 people don’t see or hear from someone for days on end over the festive period.

Age UK is now calling on people across the country to pledge their support and donate to help the charity support older people. It provides help for people through its vital services such as Age UK Advice and Call in Time, the charity’s telephone befriending service, which provides regular calls to isolated or lonely older people.

Roy, an 85-year-old widower, experienced loneliness after his wife passed away.

He said: “I spent every day for 55 years with my beautiful wife and getting used to life without her has been the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. Not a day goes by when I don’t miss her dearly.”

“No one teaches you about loneliness and until it happens to you, you don’t realise just how devastating loneliness is. 

“I’m incredibly grateful for Age UK’s befriending service and my local Age UK. I have a weekly phone call and visit from wonderful volunteers, and feel much more positive and confident now.”

Every day, Age UK hears from people who are experiencing devastating life events such as bereavement, which can lead to feelings of loneliness and loss. 

These can then contribute to mental health conditions such as heart problems, mental health issues and dementia, if left unaddressed. 

Caroline Abrahams, charity director at Age UK, said: “Loneliness doesn’t only affect older people over the Christmas period, but because most of us expect to spend this time of the year enjoying ourselves with family and friends it can make those who are unwillingly on their own feel all the more left out and miserable. 

“For many lonely older people the festive season also brings back memories of happier times in years gone by, reminding them of partners and other close relatives and friends who are no longer around and who they sorely miss.

“There is something we can all do to make a positive difference to the older people around us.”

Anyone experiencing feelings of loneliness or is worried about an older relative or friend can call Age UK Advice on 0800 169 6565.

Directed by Philippe Andre, ‘Just Another Day’ shows the everyday monotony of a lonely widower.