How to Help the Elderly Fight Loneliness this Christmas
Loneliness, such a preventable, but overwhelming thing. Something that the elderly in particular experience at this time of year. It can lead to mental and physical health problems such as depression, decreased memory and even cardio vascular disease. According to Age UK, loneliness can be as damaging to your health as ‘smoking 15 cigarettes per day‘ and yet there are 1.2 million elderly people who are chronically lonely. Which I think is such a sad statistic.
I love Christmas, it is one of my absolute favourite times of year, but I can’t imagine it’s much fun if you don’t have anyone to celebrate it with. So what we can do to help?
Do you have any elderly neighbours? My Grandma had a fall a couple of months ago and has been pretty immobile since, she hasn’t got a lot of family that live close by, although everyone is trying to do their part. But she has a lovely neighbour who has been amazing. Popping in, having a cup of tea with her, getting any items she may have run out from the shops for her. Things like this are such small things, but make such a massive difference to her life. If you have an elderly neighbour, why not give them a knock, take over some mince pies, check they’re ok and not on their own over Christmas. You won’t know just how much they appreciate it and you may just make an amazing new friend.
Give a Gift at Christmas
There are many elderly people that don’t get many, if any gifts at Christmas. How lonely must that be? There is a charity local to me called Pops Parcels where you can put together a shoe box for either a man or a lady full of nice Christmas items for them and then drop it off at a local collection point. Why not research and see if there’s something similar in your area and give some something lovely and unexpected this Christmas?
Volunteer at a Befriending Service
I have a friend who works at a befriending charity called Careline Calling which is a telephone befriending service in Derbyshire. But plenty of other regions have befriending services. All you need to do is volunteer to befriend an elderly person in your area. This can be via a home visit or just a phone call. It makes such a huge difference to lonely people’s live and only costs you a little of your time. I know how much difference a phone call can make to my Grandma, she loves to hear what the children are up to and just the general day to day things that are going on in my life. Especially when she is less able to get out and about herself.
Age UK is another charity that offers this service if you are interested in finding something local to you.
These are just a few things that you can do to help the elderly and them being lovely over Christmas. If you’re looking for more ideas on how you might be able to help the elderly, Premier Care in Bathing who make mobility walk-in bathrooms and showers in the UK have put together some useful advice on helping combat loneliness too. In my opinion, no one should be lonely, but even more so at such a magical time of year.