How to Fight Loneliness this Christmas
Christmas is about fun, laughter and spending time with family and friends. But for many people Christmas can be a very lonely affair. This is particularly true for elderly people, many of whom will be spending the festive period alone.
It is estimated that over 1.2 million older people in the UK are chronically lonely, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Here are some ways in which you can help keep your elderly neighbours company this Christmas.
Share a meal
If you have room around your table and you know your neighbour will be spending the day alone, why not invite them to share Christmas lunch with you? Many older people are young at heart and would love the chance to share in your family’s fun. If this is not feasible, perhaps you could spare an hour during the day’s festivities to pop over to their home and share a mince pie and a festive tipple. Just having a friendly conversation on Christmas day can help to make a huge difference.
Even the smallest things can help to ease people’s loneliness over the festive period. Make sure you send a Christmas card to your neighbour, and include a personal message so they know somebody is thinking of them. If possible, try to spend some time with them in the run up to Christmas – you could offer to do their shopping, take your kids over for an impromptu Monopoly session, help them to put up their Christmas decorations, or even just have a cuppa and a chat.
Christmas is a busy time for all of us and you may not have a lot of time to spend with neighbours. If that’s the case, try putting them in touch with a specialist 24 hour helpline such as The Silver Line which can offer information, friendship and advice.
Live-in care at Christmas
For older people who receive live-in care, company is a key element of the service they receive, and many of our carers spend Christmas Day with their clients.
If the person is alone, the carer will help them to cook a Christmas dinner with all the trimmings, share the meal with them and then clean up afterwards. Even if the client has a family, there is often still a place for the carer on Christmas day. Family members might wish the carer to share in their day, like having a good family friend as a guest. And by having a carer present to help with support tasks, the family have more time to relax and enjoy each other’s company.
Of course, some families prefer a more private affair and choose to hold Christmas day without a carer present – and this is also fine. We want our clients and their families to tailor the care and support to meet their preferences.
When needed, our carers are there to help and, in some cases, provide warm company at a time that may otherwise be spent alone and in low spirits.
Whatever your situation this Christmas, spare a thought for any of your neighbours who might be feeling lonely, and take a little time to help put a smile on their face this festive season.