As beloved Coronation street character Rita Sullivan faces a lonely Christmas this year, new figures from charity Age UK reveal that more than 1 million older people in the UK will feel lonely at Christmas.
A recent survey for the Charity also found that more than 330,000 older people in the UK are not looking forward to Christmas because they will spend the day alone, a situation that Terrence, 78, from Oldham knows only too well.
Following the death of his mother, Terrence had spent every Christmas alone for 20 years. After years of struggling with loneliness and isolation, a friend told him about Age UK Oldham, where he found friendship and a sense of purpose through learning new computer skills and subsequently volunteering himself.
This meant he spent Christmas Day with Nancy, a 90 year old lady with dementia whom he visits through his volunteering.
Terrence is sharing his story as part of Age UK’s partnership with Coronation Street and is one of three older people who will appear in a series of films for the Charity, clips from which were shown in the ad break of the show.
The films have been created as part of the Charity’s ongoing No one should have no one to turn to campaign and feature three older people who each tell their story of how Rita’s fictional storyline happened to them in real life, ending with the resolution of how Age UK helped them recover and get their life back on track.
Age UK were research partners and worked with Coronation Street to reflect the reality of living alone for some older people. Coronation Street viewers will also see beloved character Rita fall and hurt herself, but she is not found for hours and is in peril. The fear of falls is a major concern for many older people and last year Age UK found that 4.3 million older people were worried about falling over, with older people living on their own the most concerned.
While Rita’s storyline is clearly fiction, we know that it reflects the reality for far too many older people who feel that they are facing the challenges of later life on their own. Whether it’s loneliness and isolation, a fall, ill health or financial worries, it’s essential that older people have someone to turn to for support when they need it. Age UK wants to be there for all older people who are feeling lonely or troubled, which is why we are urging everyone to get involved in our No one should have no one to turn to campaign and donate to help us be here for those who literally have no one to turn to.Caroline Abrahams, Charity Director of Age UK
With 3.8 million people aged 65 and over living alone in the UK, a number which is expected to increase, Age UK is highlighting how the Charity can help older people who feel they have no one to turn to, whatever their concern.
Money raised from No one should have no one to turn to will help to fund essential services, such as the Age UK telephone Advice Line, which gives clear, practical guidance that helps makes sense of complicated situations and helps people access the support they need to get back on their feet, for example following bereavement. The Age UK Advice Line is free to call and open every day of the year – including Christmas Day.
Age UK is encouraging people to get behind its campaign and to donate to help ensure that the Charity’s essential services and support can continue to be there for older people and their families and friends. For more information on No one should have no one to turn to or to donate, visit www.ageuk.org.uk/noone