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A fifth of elderly people in our region face spending Christmas alone

A charity fears one in five older people in the East Midlands could be spending Christmas alone this year.

We're being encouraged to check up on elderly neighbours and relatives over the festive period to avoid isolation.

New research estimates that Christmas is in fact the loneliest time of the year for over 1.5 million older people in the UK. The charity, which offers a number of services including information and advice on issues such as mobility problems, staying independent at home or managing health issues, as well as lunch clubs, exercise classes and other activities, believes this year, up to 170,000 older people (in England and Wales) will be spending their first Christmas as a widow or widower.

According to the Charity’s survey, more than 3 million older people in the UK aren’t looking forward to Christmas this year; over 700,000 (23%) say it brings back too many memories of people who have passed away and of happier times.

Jill Mortimer, policy manager at Age UK said: "One of the effects of having the good fortune to get older and to live to a great old age is that many of your friends and family will die before you.

"Consequently there can be a shrinking network of people you can count on and expect to be around at Christmas which is why it is so important that more of us reach out to help older people."

Jill had this advice for people in North Derbyshire during the festive period: "Make sure that you stay in contact. Make sure that you're calling or dropping in if you can do that. 

"Find out what they're expecting to do around Christmas. Be sensitive to the fact that they may wish to be alone, but also sensitive to the fact that you can reach out and talk to them, that they may also be feeling lonely."

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