Finding friends at Christmas

Older people don’t have to be lonely over the festive season with housing and care national charity Abbeyfield’s Companionship at Christmas campaign

Towards the end of summer, families up and down the country start the countdown to Christmas which, for most people, is a time of good cheer and a chance to see family and friends. But a growing number of older people will spend the festive season alone.

An estimated 850,000 Britons are chronically lonely and, while this isolation is a daily issue, Christmas heightens concern for older people living alone. Statistics indicate that over-65’s are likely to spend the festive period on their own due to distance from family, tighter financial conditions or practical circumstances like weather problems.

To help combat this increasing trend, charity Abbeyfield is once again running the Companionship at Christmas nationwide campaign – a home-from-home alternative for older people wishing to spend the festive period with others.

The organisation is inviting members of local communities with elderly neighbours living alone, family members in need of respite support and those who plan to spend the Christmas period alone to get in touch.

As part of the campaign, Abbeyfield will be offering overnight stays and delicious Christmas lunches throughout the festive season (from Christmas Eve to 4 January) across many of its houses nationwide – totally free of charge. Participation can be over the whole period or just for one day – the choice is up to individuals. Abbeyfield wants to hear from people who are:

  • over 55
  • alone over Christmas
  • currently living independently in their own home.

Established in 1956 by Major Richard Carr-Gomm, Abbeyfield was founded with the aim of alleviating loneliness and enhancing the quality of life for older people. Today the charity has more than 700 houses across the UK, 80 care homes and two nursing homes looking after 7,000 residents. Abbeyfield has over 7,000 staff and over 10,000 people volunteer with the organisation.

For more information on the Companionship at Christmas campaign, visit, call 01727 734107 or email, quoting The Sunday Telegraph.