Don Foster MP

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Look out for loneliness this Christmas - Foster

December 20, 2023 by Don Foster MP in Charity support, Don in Bath, News

Don Foster MP is urging Bath residents to “look out for loneliness” over the coming Christmas and New Year period.

Don sharing a smile with a resident of Bridgecare Retirement Home

Earlier this year, Don highlighted international research that showed an average of 10 per cent of the over 65s feel they are lonely or very lonely.

In Bath & North East Somerset this means there are around 3596 lonely pensioners who could be experiencing serious long-term effects on their health as a result.

Calling on people to sign up to join the Campaign to End Loneliness, Don is also asking that Bath residents consider neighbours or friends who may be alone over the festive period and beyond.

Commenting, Don Foster MP said:

“We know that loneliness is bad for your health – one estimate has put it as bad for you as smoking 15 cigarettes a day.

“While many will meet up with family and friends over Christmas time, for those without company, feelings of loneliness can be heightened.

“In the short term we can all help by looking out for isolated family, friends and neighbours over the holiday period. Think - Can you visit? Or perhaps involve them in plans? Face to face contact can make a big difference.

“Beyond Christmas you can help combat loneliness by supporting organisations such as the Campaign to End Loneliness, Age UK BathNES or Contact the Elderly so that Bath can be stronger together.”

Councillor Simon Allen (Liberal Democrat, Radstock), B&NES Council Cabinet Member for Wellbeing said:

”In Bath and North East Somerset we have strong communities who look out for each other but still some of our neighbours will have the experience of being on their own.

“Finding those who are lonely at Christmas is vital, but their lives must be helped all year round. A wave or hello can make all the difference and can improve your own WellBeing at the same time. The Council will continue to work with its partners to do what it can to end loneliness.”

Janet Dabbs, Chief Executive of Age UK BathNES added:

“Loneliness can have a devastating effect on health and wellbeing. At Age UK B&NES we go a long way in providing friendship and support to 1200 older people through our activities and services.

“We have 150 volunteers who support older people throughout the county and we are always looking for more.

“As well as older people seeking long lasting friendship and companionship, some are looking for romance, and why not, as Marie de Nennzel said, ‘the warmth of your heart keeps your body from rusting.’”

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