Keep Your Neighbours Company Over The Holidays
An estimated 10% of older people experience loneliness, either some or all the time. Remember to check in on your elderly neighbours this Christmas.
Christmas is a time of celebration and joy for millions of families around the world. Yet for those who aren’t surrounded by friends or relatives, it can be an incredibly lonely time of year. Whilst most people are tucked up indoors spending time with their nearest and dearest, there are many elderly people who are forgotten about. They are perhaps people who have lost their partners, or whose extended families live far away from them. For these individuals, Christmas is a time of loneliness and depression.
Lonely This Christmas
Yuletide gives us all chance to reflect on the year that has gone by, but for those that have lost people close to them, it is a time to remember past loved ones and feel grief at their loss. Older people who like to get out and about find it particularly difficult over the holiday period as things tend to come to a standstill at Christmas. The usual establishments that they might frequent in order to see a friendly face are often closed over the holiday period, whilst buses and other forms of public transport are either not running or are operating a reduced service.
Call In On Your Neighbours
First Minister of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon has expressed her concerns about this situation and has underlined the need for the public to take care of the elderly this Christmas. There are many ways to help older people celebrate the festivities this year, but even simple things like visiting an elderly neighbour or inviting them round for a cup of tea and some Christmas cake can really help them to feel included. It is also important to check that they have enough food in and that their heating systems are working. Some communities have fantastic initiatives where volunteers organise film viewings, community Christmas lunches and pub meetups for the elderly.
A reported 87% of older people want a traditional Christmas spent in company. Independent People Live In Care specialises in providing company for the elderly all year round and including the Christmas holidays. The job of a live-in carer is to live with a particular host and fit in with their routines and specified wishes. Sometimes the host would like the carer to shop, prepare and cook an entire Christmas dinner, whereas others might like to be part of the proceedings by assisting in the kitchen. Some elderly people might have relatives visiting over Christmas and a carer will fit in with these arrangements, giving the family space when required or otherwise joining in the celebrations as a close friend might.
Of course, not all elderly people have carers living with them and very sadly nearly half a million people are at risk of spending Christmas Day alone with nothing but the TV for company. Therefore, it is so important that everyone in the UK thinks about their elderly neighbours or relatives and takes a few minutes out of their holiday plans to boost the spirits of someone who is vulnerable by dropping in for a cuppa and a chat!