Forgotten to make a New Year’s resolution for 2011?

As many of us start to wind down from the highs of Christmas, and our normal day-to-day routines resume, Independent Age is asking people to spare a thought for the older people around them who may have been alone over the festive season. Every year, over half a million older people spend Christmas Day alone1 and for many, the sense of loneliness carries over into the new year.

There are many reasons why older people may be lonely – they may have lost their circle of friends or their spouse, they may have family far away with busy and very separate lives, or problems with mobility may mean they just can’t get out and about as much as they would like to. So, as you begin firing yourself up for the year ahead, loaded with expectation and hope, and setting new plans and projects into motion, why not think about putting some time aside to make a difference to the life of an older person this year?

Even a gesture as simple as sharing a cuppa with someone who could do with the company could make a world of difference to someone who has no friends or family to visit them. “Human contact and personal relationships are vital for everyone’s wellbeing, so visiting or phoning an elderly neighbour might be one of the most valuable things you could do this year,” says Philip Rosser, Independent Age Director of Volunteers and National Networks.

At Independent Age, we provide lifelong support to older people on very low incomes. We support thousands of people across the UK and Republic of Ireland, providing them with information, advice, practical help and emergency financial aid. Just as importantly, we offer friendship and the chance to socialise to those who are lonely and isolated.

We are reliant on our network of volunteers to support the work that we do and we are always looking for more people to join us. Our volunteers can help offer a lifeline to the older people we support throughout the year. There is a whole range of volunteering opportunities at Independent Age, depending on the amount of time you choose to give, from visiting one or more older people in your area through to helping with fundraising events or organising the other volunteers in your neighbourhood.

Becoming a volunteer with Independent Age also offers a wide range of opportunities to meet new people of all ages and develop new skills. Every step of the way, local colleagues are on hand to offer guidance and support.

1 Christmas Day survey 2007 (unpublished), ICM Research for Help the Aged, 2007 2

If you would like further information about volunteering opportunities with Independent Age in 2011, please call 020 7605 4255 or email volunteering@independentage.org.uk . To find out more about Independent Age, visit our website: www.independentage.org.uk.

For media inquiries, please contact Rebecca Law on 020 7605 4291 or email rebecca.law@independentage.org.uk

Notes to Editor:

Independent Age

Independent Age is unique in providing lifelong support to older people on very low incomes. We provide information and advice, practical help and emergency financial aid through our network of staff and dedicated volunteers across the UK and Republic of Ireland. Just as importantly, we offer friendship and the chance to socialise to those who are lonely and isolated. Supported by Independent Age, thousands of older people are able to maintain their independence, contribute to their communities and enjoy a good quality of life, secure in the knowledge that our help lasts as long as they need it.

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