MK health bosses are calling on people to be good neighbours this Christmas and check on frail and elderly people living nearby.
Dr Nicola Smith, GP and Chair of NHS Milton Keynes CCG, said: “The festive season is usually a time for celebration for many families, but for too many older people it can reinforce feelings of loneliness and loss.
“This can not only make them feel miserable but also have an impact on their physical health too. Christmas is the perfect time for everyone to be a good neighbour.”
A national survey from Age UK showed that nearly a million older people feel lonelier at Christmas time, two-fifths of whom have been widowed.
Based on the survey, the charity estimates that getting on towards a million people aged 65 and over don’t see or hear from someone for days on end over the festive period.
And at Christmas time, on days when older people do not see or hear from anyone, more than half of them rely on the TV for companionship.
Dr Smith said help can range from popping in to check elderly people are warm enough to inviting them round to Christmas dinner.
Other suggestions include checking on prescriptions, making sure they have adequate supplies of repeat prescriptions and medications to cover them during the holiday period, and encouraging them to call 111 if they feel unwell when pharmacies are closed
“Call in and say hello. Let elderly neighbours know you are available to help and provide them with a telephone number in case of an emergency,” she said.