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Likely Lads star in appeal over loneliness in over-60s

09 December 2016 08:05

Many older people feel lonely at Christmas

Many older people feel lonely at Christmas

Do you have any older relatives or neighbours who are likely to be alone over Christmas?

Perhaps it's worth considering popping in to say 'hello'?

So suggests charity Age UK as it reveals that nearly a million (982,200) people aged 60 and above admit to feeling lonelier at Christmas time.

Around two-thirds thought that regular visits from a 'friendly face' would help, while around 50% thought a weekly phone call would be an advantage. Older people visiting family abroad over Christmas can arrange seniors travel insurance.

Age UK wants to raise awareness of the loneliness problem, and has worked with actor James Bolam as part of its No One Should Have No One at Christmas campaign.

Bolam, who played Terry Collier in the 70s sitcom Whatever Happened to the Likely Lads, lends his voice to the story of Roy - an 83-year-old whose wife recently died.

Roy said: "My beautiful wife passed away one year ago and not a day goes by when I don't miss her dearly. It takes some getting used to, going from spending every single day for the past 55 years with the woman I love, to facing each day without her."

He explained how volunteers from Age UK have helped him. Roy has a weekly call and visit, and says he's "feeling much more confident and positive now".

"Joining Age UK's befriending service has been a great help," Roy adds. "I hit it off splendidly with the volunteers I was matched with... and (I) would urge anybody who is feeling lonely and missing their loved ones this Christmas to sign up for this service."

Caroline Abrahams, charity director at Age UK, called on family, friends and neighbours to help make a difference to older people's lives. She said: "A simple phone call or visit, particularly at this time of year when feelings of loneliness can feel especially raw, can really lift the spirits of someone who is going through a difficult time."