Number of people celebrating Christmas alone set to double this year

Number of people celebrating Christmas alone set to double this year

 · 3 min read

There will be twice as many people spending Christmas alone this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.  Many of those who will be alone at Christmas are aged 65 and over, with 1.7 million people in this age group alone across the UK set to spend Christmas Day alone. 

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There will be twice as many people spending Christmas alone this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Many of those who will be alone at Christmas are aged 65 and over, with 1.7 million people in this age group alone across the UK set to spend Christmas Day alone. 

It is estimated that 8% of people overall will be spending Christmas alone this year, which is up from 4% last year. 14% of over 65s will be alone at Christmas this year, up from 7% in 2019. 

Only 23% of adults have said they will be with their parents on Christmas Day, 12% lower than last year.

The research, which conducted by Opinium for this past weekend's Observer, has triggered growing concern over the issue of loneliness. Many are calling this issue "the silent epidemic of loneliness" as it reveals the disruption and impact the coronavirus pandemic has had on families and social gatherings. 

Other figures, released by the British Red Cross, revealed that 39% of adults in the UK had not had a significant conversation with another person in the two weeks prior to their response. 

Among the responses, 32% of people feared that if something happened to them, no one would realise until much later. 

Executive director of communications and advocacy at the British Red Cross, Zoe Abrams, said the seasonal change as well as the impact loneliness is having on people and families "cannot be underestimated".

She said, "Shorter daylight hours and a very different Christmas for many could compound feelings of isolation, especially for those who may have lost family members this year."

"Loneliness is a public health issue – it can increase the risk of heart disease, stroke and dementia. We'd encourage civil society organisations to involve people dealing with loneliness in designing solutions. We'd also like all governments across the four nations to have a winter loneliness plan."

Caroline Abrahams, Age UK's charity director, said technology could help many stay connected with their families. However, she also cautioned there was also a large number of older people who do not have access to smartphones, tablets, or specific apps, or don't know how to use them. She said that this means many people will be "totally on their own and won't hear from or speak to anyone at all".

Covid-19 restrictions will be relaxed to an extent between 23 and 27 December, where three households will be able to mix indoors and stay overnight in each other's houses.

Zara Tunnicliffe
Zara Tunnicliffe
Zara joined Age Group in 2020 and is an expert in all things food and drink, travel and lifestyle.
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