Call to be good neighbours to the elderly

The National Association of Care Catering (NACC) is urging people across the UK to remember their elderly neighbours and relatives this winter.

Under the Knock on Your Neighbour campaign, people are being asked to spare a thought for older people spending Christmas on their own this year – around half of all 75-year-olds.

It hopes that by sparing a few minutes or hours for older neighbours will help to stave off the loneliness they may encounter at this time of year.

Derek Johnson, chairman of the NACC, said: “For those elderly people who live on their own, Christmas can seem just like any other day. Many older people aren’t able to put up decorations or cook a traditional Christmas dinner.

“For some, the television is the nearest they get to human interaction on Christmas Day.

“The NACC believes the most valuable Christmas present you can give this year might simply be a visit to an older person and check they are healthy and happy.”

Last year, pensioners made up 81 per cent of the total number of deaths recorded between December 2009 and March 2010.

Out of the 25,400 adults who suffered cold-related deaths last winter, 20,600 were aged 75 and over.