Age Cymru is urging communities across Wales to look out for their older neighbours as thousands say they expect to be lonely during the festive season.
According to the charity’s research nearly 85,000 people aged 65 or over in Wales say they will eat Christmas dinner alone.
More than 112,000 older people, equivalent to more than one in six, say Christmas Day is their hardest day of the year.
While nearly one in five (18%) said they wish they had someone to spend time with at Christmas.
However, loneliness is a year-round issue, and the causes can be complex. For some it may be the result of their loved ones having passed away, others may have become housebound due to ill health, or perhaps their family and friends have moved away.
One thing we can all do is be a good neighbour. Whether it’s just a wave, a smile, or a Christmas card, such gestures can make a huge difference.
Even better perhaps you could invite an older neighbour round for a cup of tea and a mince pie. Or provide some much-needed reassurance by leaving your telephone number so they can call you in an emergency.
Anyone who has 30 minutes to spare each week can also sign up to the charity’s Friend in Need service whereby volunteers are matched with an older person who lives alone, for a weekly telephone call.
For more information call 0300 303 44 98 or visit www.agecymru.org.uk.