On the 5th of December, Age Scotland launched their ‘No one should have no one at Christmas’ campaign to raise awareness of loneliness and social isolation among older people over the Christmas period and beyond.
Loneliness is a problem all year round but nearly 65,000 older people in Scotland say they feel lonelier at Christmas. Cold weather in winter months can prevent some older people from getting out to socialise and the emphasis society places on spending time with family and friends at this time of year can intensify the feeling of having no one.
So what can we do about it?
As part of our campaign ‘no one should have no one at Christmas’ we are encouraging everyone to think about what they can do to address and prevent loneliness in their local community. It can be anything from checking in on an older neighbour to see if they would like a cup of tea and a chat to volunteering with a local group or charity that supports older people.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon helped kick off our campaign, joining us for an intergenerational Christmas tea party at Port of Leith Housing Association. The tea party was the culmination of a project organised by the Pilmeny Development Project where young and older people have been learning about each other’s lives and taking part in social activities together.
The First Minister joined pupils from Drummond Community High school and tenants from the housing association to play pass the parcel, take part in a Christmas quiz, and chat over some mince pies.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon MSP said: “Dealing with loneliness and isolation can be incredibly difficult, but at this time of year it’s especially heart-breaking to see that so many older Scots will spend Christmas alone. Age Scotland’s work to ensure that ‘No one should have no one at Christmas’ is vitally important, and everyone can play a part.
“By reaching out to older people in their street or community – by taking them out, doing a good deed or simply having a chat – people can have a hugely positive impact on the wellbeing and happiness of an older person.”
The First Minister also kicked off our #EndLoneliness pledge by pledging to drop in on an older neighbour over Christmas. We are now calling on everyone to share what they will do to end loneliness in their local community.
A great example is little Evie who made Christmas cards at nursery and asked her mum if she could give them to people who wouldn’t be getting any this year. Evie and her mum headed down to their local day care centre in Prestonpans and spent some time handing out cards and hugs and making new friends.
Many of the individuals at the day centre do not have any family and would likely not receive a Christmas card this year and Evie’s kind gesture went a long way.
What could you do to end loneliness in your local community? Share your ideas and plans with us on social media using the hashtag #EndLoneliness
Age Scotland works to eradicate loneliness and social isolation among older people in Scotland by supporting and developing local groups and projects and running a free helpline.
To support Age Scotland’s work in local communities, please text HUGS16 £5 to 70070 now to donate £5 or visit our Just Giving page to make a secure online donation. Thank you.