Grownups - a lifestyle website for Kiwis over 50 is running a poll on how many over 50s will be spending Christmas alone.
So far it's at 17%, which is quite significant.
How can we help? And how can the lonely help themselves.
Grown Ups editor Jane Matthews spoke to Paul Henry about the issue.
Spotting the lonely
A good place to start is to think hard about the elderly you know. If someone was recently widowed, or doesn’t have any children, then they are more likely to be alone. If you know the little old lady next door has family overseas then it’s worth asking her if she has plans. These people will not put themselves out there as they are most likely embarrassed about being alone.
What you can offer to do
-Get in now - offer to help with Christmas shopping.
-If you know they go to church you could offer to take them to a service, or midnight mass.
-Inviting them for Christmas lunch could be hard for shy oldies, instead invite them for a short period. If you keep it short it’s less daunting for them and for you.
-Deliver a magazine and a movie or drop off baking
-Drop in on them for half an hour
Watch the video for the full interview.