A CHARITY will throw open its doors to elderly people who have no one to turn to this Christmas.

Age UK Dorchester, which works to combat loneliness in older people through a range of services and activities, will open its social club to visitors on Christmas Eve and between Christmas and New Year.

Age UK nationally has found that 203,000 older people in the south west can go for a month without meeting up with a friend, and that 41,000 over 65s in the region have not even had a conversation with their family or friends in the same period.

Difficult life events, such as bereavement or serious illness, can lead to people becoming more isolated and feeling lonelier.

David Thorp, of Age UK Dorchester, said: "There is far more awareness now of the problem of loneliness and as a result I think many families and friends make a real effort to be kind to older people, especially at this time of year.

"However, as research shows, sadly, some older people are still being left out in the cold and have no one at all to turn to for advice or support.

“Shockingly, we are also finding cases where people have died alone, without any support. I believe this shouldn’t happen in Dorset in 2019. We continue to reach out to those who are lonely, vulnerable and often suffering from depression, 365 days a year."

As well as prioritising work with older people who are most in need, Age UK Dorchester has also helped older people access more than £10 million in benefit payments they are entitled to. This assistance, given free of charge by volunteers, has become a vital service to support older people, ensuring that they don’t live in poverty with declining physical and mental health in Dorset.

Mr Thorp added: "As well as doing your bit to be friendly to the older people you know, please support us so we can be there for those who really are almost always on their own.

"There is so much more that needs to be done, and we know there are many people that need our help. No one should have to be lonely in old age."

The Age UK Dorchester social club in Prince of Wales Road, will continue to open its doors over the festive season.

The charity is encouraging people to get behind its campaign and donate to help ensure that the charity’s essential services and support can continue to be there for older people and their families.

Visit ageuk.org/Dorchester or call 01305 269444.


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