- Video report by ITV News Anglia's Liz Summers
Christmas is traditionally a time for us to be with our loved ones to spend some much needed quality time together. But for some it can be a lonely time of year.
A recent survey revealed that two fifths of people speak to their neighbours less than once a week or month.
The impact of social isolation can be significant; research suggests being lonely can be as bad for your health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day and can be far worse than obesity and physical inactivity.
Hertfordshire County Council has come up with a list of things people can do to help the elderly and vulnerable in particular.
- 1. Write or deliver their Christmas cards
- 2. Help put Christmas trees or decorations up
- 3. Helping wrap Christmas presents
- 4. Invite an elderly person living alone for a chat
- 5. Help them with their Christmas shopping
- 6. Share a meal
- 7. Take an elderly neighbour to a Christmas party
- 8. Help put out the bins
- 9. Join a befriender scheme
- 10. Help them join a local social club
Christina Hammond, 56, who has spent nearly 10 years as a volunteer for the 10 to 3 Club in Hitchin.
Statistics reveal that people aged over 80 are twice as likely to report high levels of loneliness than any other adult age group.
If you are worried about a friend, neighbour or relative who might be lonely or at risk of loneliness, here is a selection of links that may help you: