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Older people risk isolation at Christmas, charity warns

Loneliness can have real health effects with Christmas a particularly bad time, support organisation Alone said.

File photo
File photo
Image: John Birdsall/John Birdsall/Press Association Images

OLDER PEOPLE ARE at increased risk of suffering isolation and loneliness over the Christmas holidays, a charity has warned.

Members of the public have been urged to spend some time providing company to elderly people who may be living on their own, by support organisation Alone.

The charity said that as many people focus on their own families and friends, some older people may feel increasingly isolated.

“At this time of year, we must remind the public about the hugely detrimental effects that isolation can have on some older people,” Alone CEO Seán Moynihan said. He continued:

It’s very easy for people to get caught up in their own lives at Christmas time, and we’re asking that people remember how important it is to visit and check in on older people who may desperately be in need of company, or some support.

The charity said loneliness can have serious consequences for health, with the World Health Organisation rating it as a bigger risk factor than a lifetime of smoking.

As many as one in 10 older people are at risk of poverty and isolation, according to Alone. The charity said it would distribute 500 food hampers over the Christmas period, as well as bringing hot Christmas dinners to older people living alone.

More: This is no country for old men and women – but it could be>

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Michael Freeman

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