We can all help older Scots feeling lonely this Christmas
But, among Scotland’s aging population, it is estimated that 70,000 over the age of 65 will have nobody to spend Christmas with and more than 5,000 will not speak to anyone on the day itself.
Research for Age UK has found more than one in ten over-65s in Scotland expect to feel lonely this festive season - the equivalent of 122,000 people.
The cost-of-living crisis has made matters worse, with analysis also revealing more than 150,000 over-65s are struggling to afford Christmas this year.
As energy bills soar, many face having to make difficult choices in order to stay warm.
The impact on both the physical and mental health of older people can be profound, with increased risk of heart disease, dementia, strokes, depression and premature death.
Money may be tight this year, but helping older people through the festive period and beyond need not cost anything.
Age Scotland is working with groups and volunteers across Scotland through initiatives such as the Big Gift Appeal and the Winter Warmer project to see cards, gifts and items to help keep people warm delivered to older people across the country.
The charity’s interim chief executive Michelle Supple said everyone can play a part in helping older friends, relatives and neighbours.
She said: “With the cost of energy and other essentials much higher than in previous years, many will be facing additional pressure in heating their homes to a comfortable level or making sure they are eating enough.
“A strong sense of community spirit helped many older people through lockdown periods, and we would urge everyone to continue looking out for older friends, relatives and neighbours this Christmas too.
“Sending a card, popping by for a chat or a cup of tea, or picking up the phone to someone you haven’t spoken to in a while could make all the difference to an older person spending the festive period on their own.”