Almost half of UK adults say that their busy lives stop them from connecting with other people. We can all play a part to tackle loneliness.
As the colder and darker nights continue to draw in and Christmas approaches, this time of year can be especially lonely for the half a million older people who spend Christmas alone instead of being surrounded by family and loved ones.
According to Age UK, around one in 20 older people are facing Christmas without speaking to anyone. The charity says the rising cost of living is forcing pensioners to lead more solitary lives.
Living in isolation and loneliness is a stark reality for many older people all year round, not just at Christmas time, with nearly one million over 65-year-olds only seeing close friends or family once a month or less.
Around Christmas time, family members may be busier, struggling to find the time to visit their loved ones and help them with daily tasks. We often see an increase in enquiries from older people seeking companionship during this time of year, which is why it’s so important to reach out to older relatives or people in your community throughout the festive period.
The greatest gift you can give someone is your time, because when you give your time you are giving a portion of your life that you will never get back.
Looking out for an older person in your life doesn’t need to be a huge task – sometimes it’s the smaller things which can make a person’s day. So why not spread some festive cheer this Christmas and see if you can reach out to an older person in your community in one of the below ways?
Offer a listening ear
Sometimes the best thing that you can do is listen. Many older people who live alone can go entire days at a time without speaking to anyone, and this can lead to loneliness and isolation. Why not reach out to an older relative or neighbour this month just to see if they’d like a chat? Whether it’s an hour for a cup of tea or a quick catch up over the phone, offering an older person your time and company over the Christmas period may just make their day. Here are 10 easy ways to make your communication more effective and make the other person feel more valued.
Help them with a household task
Everyday tasks which may seem simple and easy to you can be difficult to tackle as you get older, so why not spend a couple of hours helping an older person you know out with tasks around the house? Whether it’s taking the rubbish out, hoovering the house or even helping to put up the Christmas tree, a little help at home can go a long way and you’ll be surprised at how appreciated the help and companionship can be. Here are a few simple gadgets to help make independent living that much easier.
Run an errand
Some people lose their mobility as they get older and this can lead to them feeling stuck in their own homes. If you know an elderly person who lives alone and doesn’t have the means to get out and about, why not offer some help and some company in the process? It could be something as simple as a quick trip out in your car to pick up groceries, or a few hours Christmas shopping and seeing the festive sights around town. One thing we can always count on in Buckinghamshire is a plethora of excellent festive markets.
Bond over dinner
It doesn’t have to be a Christmas roast – inviting an older person to have a chat over lunch or even just a cup of tea can offer them with the companionship over Christmas period which so many go without. Why not invite friends or family members along too and make your own social gathering? Try an easy twist on the classics this year with these alternative Christmas recipes.
Share your digital skills
According to Age UK, 25% of people aged 65 and over in the UK don’t use the internet. Older people who are without digital skills risk losing access to key services such as banking, shopping and health services, as well as communications platforms that keep people connected. Show them new technology, they will always be awed by how far technology has come. Every time you introduce them to some innovation in technology, you will get to hear stories of how great things were back in the good old days. Read more: https://ageing-better.org.uk/digital-inclusion
Invite them to join the family
Thousands of older people will spend Christmas alone this year, so why not invite an elderly person in your community into your home to share Christmas dinner with you? From a family games night to a Christmas movie viewing, reaching out to an older person and making them feel like one of the family can go a long way, especially during this time of year. Here is a great list of some of the best Christmas movies for older adults to enjoy.
Help them find the right care support
For some older people, a live in carer or hourly visits from a carer in their community may offer the best form of companionship available to them over Christmas. With family members busier, older people may need extra assistance over the Christmas period, which carers can provide them with, without them having to leave the comfort of their own homes.
“Just before Christmas my 88-year-old husband who has vascular dementia suffered a crisis. We were woefully unprepared and realised hands-on help was needed. Ashridge Home Care assessed the situation and found us a live-in carer at very short notice. He was wonderful, a perfect match for my husband.” Suzanne, wife of a client
Read the full story here: Urgent home support for clients with dementia – Benefits of live-in care.
Here at Ashridge Home Care we offer award winning companionship care and live-in home care services not only throughout the Christmas period, but all year round. For more information on how we can assist you or your loved one, call us on 01494 917344, or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.