Let's help our elderly tackle loneliness this Christmas

When you think of Christmas time, what things come to mind? Perhaps it’s Christmas lights, festive food and drink, maybe seeing little ones' faces as they open presents from Santa. For most, it’s getting together with friends and family to celebrate a special time of year. However, for many others, and especially the elderly, it can be a particularly lonely time.

Last Christmas, Age UK produced a short film which focused on the chronic loneliness which 1.2 million older people feel all year around – but especially at this time of year.  According to Age UK’s research, 2 million people over the age of 50 will be affected by loneliness if changes aren’t made within the next decade. At Christmas time, around 1.4 million older people admit that Christmas isn’t a special day for them and that they just let it pass by without celebration. Their survey also found that almost a million people aged 65 and over don’t see or hear from someone for days over the festive period, relying on the TV for companionship.

So, what can we do in our local area to help alleviate the problem for so many of our elderly in the local area?  The most obvious is offering your time – from visiting for a quick chat or helping with Christmas decorations, company will alleviate any loneliness they might be feeling.

For those who aren’t always able to give their time so freely, we’ve put together a useful resource list to help tackle this issue. If you know anyone who might be on their own this Christmas, we encourage you to speak with them and help them to get support and the company they need. 

Call In Time

Call in Time is Age UK’s free telephone befriending service which provides regular calls to isolated or lonely older people aged over 60. The service will match that person up with a likeminded friend who will begin regular calls. However, this might not be suitable for those with dementia or issues with memory loss or mental health as they may need a higher level of support.

 To find out more about this service, please visit: https://www.ageuk.org.uk/services/befriending-services/sign-up-for-telephone-befriending/

Christmas Day Matching

Charity ReEngage help match the older generation with events over Christmas to alleviate loneliness. If you are over the age of 75, they will match you with an event on Christmas Day. All you need to do to apply is to fill in an online form. You can also do this on someone else’s behalf:   Christmas Day Matching for the Over 75's.

Christmas Day Dinners with door to door transport

There are events around Portsmouth and the surrounding areas which host free Christmas Day dinners which include door to door transport. One event we found is at the Evangelist Church in Fareham. To search for more events, visit the Rengage website and enter your postcode. Can’t find events close enough? Don’t worry, new events are added all the time by volunteers, so keep checking back on the page for updates.

Don’t forget!

Loneliness isn’t just at Christmastime. Events held all year round include:

MHA Portsmouth

MHA run several activities each week which include Singing For Fun and exercise class ‘Steady and Strong’ on a Wednesday and the Munch Hub on a Thursday. This event is a home cooked light lunch followed by social time and a different activity each week. All events cost between £4-£5 per session (and some are free for the first session) and run at either Eastney Methodist Church or Waterlooville Community Centre. For more information, visit their facebook page:  https://www.facebook.com/MHAPortsmouthH

Milton Village Hall

Several senior groups running Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. Activities range from 60+ curling, to bingo n brunch or quiz afternoons.

Bradbury Centre

Age UK Portsmouth have set up a Breakfast Club for Forces veterans which takes place on the second Thursday of every month from 09:00 to 11:00am. All ex-service personnel are welcome to come along, together with their partners, to socialise with other veterans and enjoy a great breakfast.


Looking for something more long term for a loved one?  We offer a range of services that can help.  From companionship, to personal or respite care, we can discuss your individual needs with you confidentially.

Please call us on 02392 987009 to find out more.