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Exclusive: Six million vulnerable UK elderly spend Christmas isolated, alone and in crisis, top charity boss warns

Photos logoPhotos 02/12/2019 MSN UK
MSN UK is supporting the UK's most vulnerable young and older people in crisis this Christmas © Getty MSN UK is supporting the UK's most vulnerable young and older people in crisis this Christmas

Caroline Abrahams, Charity Director at Age UK writes exclusively for Microsoft News UK:

"This festive season, almost six million older people in England will face serious challenges, often without the support they need.

"At Age UK, we’re determined to be there – but we need your help to make it happen.

"For most of us, Christmas is about being with the people we love. But for those who have lost that special someone they spent years creating memories with, Christmas can be a particularly difficult time. Bereavement is something that most people will experience at some point in life – especially as we get older and begin outliving the people we love the most.

"We can all imagine the pain and sadness this can bring. The death of a loved one is often a major factor when it comes to someone feeling lonely or isolated in later life.

"That was the case for Colin. When his beloved wife Joan-Ann passed away, he told us it felt like the bottom had fallen out of his world. With no family or close friends nearby, Colin was lonely, isolated and struggling to cope. Not having someone to talk to regularly can be lonely, particularly if you're used to sharing your home and time with others.

Colin was left isolated and alone when his beloved wife passed away. © Age UK Colin was left isolated and alone when his beloved wife passed away.

"A staggering 800,000 people aged 65 and over are lonely. Many may go days without speaking to anyone, with only the TV for company.

"For many lonely older people, Christmas will be a day just like any other. Last year Age UK found that more than 2.5 million older people have no one to turn to for help and support . This is why we’re determined to be here for every older person who needs us.

"We provide a free and confidential telephone advice line, open 365 days a year – including Christmas Day. Whether it’s a practical problem, like sorting out a household bill, or something more personal like a health worry, our expert advisers are available to listen and do what they can to help.

Caroline Abrahams, Charity Director at Age UK writes exclusively for Microsoft News UK © Age UK Caroline Abrahams, Charity Director at Age UK writes exclusively for Microsoft News UK

"We also offer a telephone befriending service for anyone over 65 who’d like to make a new friendship. It was being put in touch with one of our befrienders, for a weekly chat that helped Colin start to overcome his loneliness. Now, she’s like a daughter to him.

"None of what we do is possible without people like you. As a charity, we rely on the kind donations of our supporters to help us be there for older people in desperate need of support.

"Please join Microsoft News UK’s Christmas Together Appeal and donate to Age UK this Christmas so together we can continue to be there for every older person who needs us."

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More on MSN’s Christmas Together Charity Appeal:

Why children and the elderly are society’s most vulnerable this Christmas

Make a donation to support older people

Just £6 can help feed a UK child in crisis a warm meal. £25 gifts them a safe place to stay

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Our Christmas Together Appeal proudly supports Age UK and The Children’s Society who are providing vital services to society’s most vulnerable this festive season. Because no one should feel alone. Together we can make a big difference. Join us here.

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