Nearly half of those aged over 75 live alone

IT’S a sobering fact but nearly half of all people aged 75 and over, live alone in Basingstoke – and one in 20 aged 65 and older will be spending Christmas Day without any company.

Age Concern Hampshire, which offers support, advice and access to well-being services to over-50s across the county, is now calling on Basingstoke residents to make a difference this Christmas by reaching out over the festive period to friends and neighbours.

“Simply sending a Christmas card to an elderly neighbour is a great way to show that they are being thought about,” says Age Concern Hampshire Director Rick Smith.

“We want people in Basing-stoke to remember that in the midst of a very busy time, there are others who are lonely and isolated.

“Seventeen per cent of older people have less than weekly contact with family, friends and neighbours, which is particularly hard during the festive season.

“We are asking Basingstoke residents to extend the hand of friendship to older people living nearby.”

Rick added: “Asking a neighbour if they need anything when you do the supermarket run takes just a few minutes, and it might be the only social interaction an older person has had all day.

“We are also encouraging older people to pick up the phone and talk to us. Our freephone Information and Advice Line offers information about all sorts of social clubs, activities and day time opportunities that are available across Hampshire.

“Many of the people who call us simply aren’t aware of the social opportunities that are available nearby.”

Age Concern Hampshire has 15 Wellbeing and Day Care Centres across the county which offer care and support for people with dementia or physical frailty. Weekly activities provide opportunities to make new friends.

A new pilot Food and Friendship scheme offers volunteers for people receiving meals on wheels, giving them someone to chat to at meal times in their own homes.

“The festive season can be particularly hard to bear if you feel isolated, but there’s no need for anyone in Basingstoke to be alone,” says Rick. “Age Concern Hampshire is committed to ensuring that no-one is needlessly lonely this Christmas.”

To find out more about activities in your area, contact Age Concern freephone Information and Advice Line on 0800 328 7154.

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