Age Concern: One third of those over 55 dread festive season

One in three people aged over 55 dread the festive season, Age Concern said today, warning that loneliness, poor health and money worries will put older people at risk of depression.

The finding came from a survey carried out by ITV for the Christmas appeal run by This Morning for Age Concern.

The charity is urging family members, friends and neighbours to watch out for signs of depression in older people and support them to seek help. It is offering free information leaflets about the illness to help people recognise the signs and source support.

Spending Christmas alone

The ITV survey found that one in five people over 55 have spent Christmas alone, and almost six out of ten wish they could see more of their family than they currently do during the festive period.

Age Concern director general Gordon Lishman said: “While the nation tucks into its Christmas dinners, many older people will spend it alone. Loneliness is a major cause of depression, which can ruin older people’s quality of life.”

The Christmas message is part of the charity’s Down, but not out campaign to improve the lives of older people with depression, which is the most common mental health problem in later life.

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