Companionship for older people this Christmas

Spare a thought for the isolated and elderly this festive season

To help combat isolation and loneliness among older people during this season of goodwill, the charity Abbeyfield is launching its annual Coping at Christmas campaign. Abbeyfields across the UK will be open and will invite individuals to spend time at our supported sheltered houses and care homes for a free festive meal, or even an overnight stay.

A number of celebrities, including actor Geoffrey Palmer (left), are helping to raise awareness by acting as spokespeople for the campaign. Geoffrey quoted the latest research which shows that over 2.5 million older people across the UK are not looking forward to the season of goodwill*.

Living alone or feeling lonely is something that is sadly accepted and not discussed; people generally become accustomed to their own company. However, in the run-up to Christmas, when there is a barrage of cheery festive advertisements depicting happy times shared with family and friends, the sense of isolation and loneliness that usually goes unnoticed can be magnified. With over half a million older people

Recently Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt commented on the fact that failure to offer friendship to the isolated and elderly is a national shame. due to spend Christmas Day alone, it is not a surprise that 49 per cent of those over the age of 65 would choose “having company” above anything else as their Christmas wish this year.

As the Abbeyfield Coping at Christmas initiative begins, we would like everyone to consider someone that they know to be living alone without much contact with others to either bring this campaign to their attention, visit our website to find out more about the nearest participating house, or contact us on 0845 052 3553.

This year Abbeyfield is hosting a pledge page on its website which underpins the charity’s belief of providing support for older people who might be alone or lonely – it is hoped that the pledges will encourage people within the community to be more aware that others might be alone this Christmas.

Nearly 60 years ago, Richard Carr-Gomm founded Abbeyfield, a charity that was set up to provide companionship and housing for older people who lived alone or were lonely. Today, Abbeyfield has over 500 houses in the UK providing housing, support and a wide range of quality services with companionship still very much at the centre of what we provide. 

It is a sad reality that in this day and age, charities and agencies similar to Abbeyfield are still trying to raise awareness of the struggles older people face and the very real impact of loneliness.

The campaign has already received the backing of a number of MPs, other charitable organisations and local authorities charged with taking care of the elderly around the country, who agree that the scheme provides an invaluable lifeline for older people.


0845 052 3553
Register for the pledges at


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