Over 65s are said to fear loneliness more than COVID-19 this Christmas after a
difficult year of self-isolating, shielding, and being physically cut off from their loved
According to a nationwide poll, more than half of over-65s are worried about
spending Christmas this year without their families. And 1.7 million older people
expect to be alone this Christmas, double that of last year.
The coronavirus pandemic has increased everyone’s struggle with loneliness,
isolation, and wellbeing, but it has had a disproportionate impact on older people.
Many older people do not have access to smartphones or the internet, making it
more difficult for them to keep in touch with other people. And with shielding still in
place for many, self-isolation enforced, or mandated lockdown, more people than
ever before are feeling cut off from their loved ones.
According to Age UK, more than 2 million people in England over the age of 75 live
alone, and more than a million older people say they go for over a month without
speaking to a friend, neighbour, or family member.
“We heard from older people who said they spent days without speaking to anyone
and were left feeling unloved, unwanted, and forgotten.” – Age UK
As Christmas approaches and we continue with varied levels of restrictions, it is
clear that Christmas will look very different this year and that many older people will
At Faith in Later Life, we are committed to seeing older people flourish in their faith,
friendships, and communities. We think that, as Christians, we have a responsibility
to reach out, to love, and to empower older people in their day-to-day lives.
This year we wanted to do something extra special to help alleviate the loneliness
impacting millions of older people across the UK. As a charity committed to
supporting older people and those who care for them, we know how much people
value connection. And we believe Christians and church communities are ideally
placed to make a difference.
This time of lockdown and coronavirus has disrupted our communities significantly,
creating a pandemic of loneliness even greater than this country has ever
experienced before. And as Christmas approaches, a time that traditionally brings a
lot of joy, celebration and time spent with family, many people are fearful of a festive
season spent without their loved ones.
But, as Christians, we believe that our hope is not lost. Times are hard, but God is
with us, and He wants us to know that. The Christmas season is a time of hope. It
celebrates the birth of Christ – He who gives us eternal hope.
“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in
Him should not perish but have eternal life.” – John 3:16
Whatever Christmas looks like this year, we think everyone should know how much
they are loved. That’s why with a sprinkling of creativity and a lot of support from
Christians all around the country, we have launched our Christmas Connections
We want to raise awareness at this challenging time and remind all of us that we can
make a difference in a practical way, by simply sending an older person a Christmas
postcard and in doing so sharing the love of Jesus and ensuring that older person is
Could you write and post a Christmas postcard to an older person in your church, in
your family or on your street? Or maybe you could contact your local care home and
ask if you could send a Christmas postcard to an older resident there? Together we
can make a difference in ensuring older people are #notforgotten this Christmas.
If you would like to get involved, visit the Christmas Connections page on our
website for more details or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org for more
information. We hope you will join us because no one should be alone this
Carl Knightly is the CEO of Faith in Later Life