Ideally, we’d all be surrounded by loved ones this winter — but not all of us are so lucky. Elderly care experts share how to stave off loneliness this Christmas
The Christmas season is a magical time of year for most of us. The lights, sounds and smells are tailor-made to lift our spirits. It’s a time for joy, family and friends. But in the excitement of this festive period, we forget that this time of year can be difficult and lonely for some elderly people who live alone, who have lost their partners and don’t have any family around to share the merriment.
The statistics are disheartening — 1.9 million people over the age of 65 feel invisible or ignored while 1.4 million feel cut off from society. Sadly, 3.6 million say their television is their main form of company. Loneliness is a serious matter — it is said to have a physical effect equivalent to smoking or even alcoholism.
As experts who offer respite care, we have identified a few simple but effective ways to provide comfort and companionship to the elderly this Christmas.
Help to Decorate
Take a few hours, grab a few friends and head over to an elderly neighbour’s home. Offer to decorate, if their home hasn’t yet been dressed up in tinsel. It will only take you and your friends a short amount of time, but the hustle and bustle and merriment will certainly be appreciated.
Pick up the Phone and Wish a Merry Christmas
You have the whole festive season to enjoy yourself and spend time with your loved ones. You deserve this downtime, but if you take five minutes out of your day to make a list of any seniors who might be alone, and give them a call, it could make all the difference. Think about how much it would mean to them to hear a friendly voice from someone who cares. It will show them they are appreciated and not forgotten.
Ask Your Neighbour to Come around for a Cup of Tea
Everyone loves a warm cup of tea. It’s something we can all bond over. If you know your neighbour is facing Christmas day alone but have plans that don’t allow an invite over for the whole day, extend the offer of a brew. It will lift their spirits to be around family — even someone else’s family — and enjoy the festivities.
Bake a Cake or Cook a Hot Meal
Take some time to cook up something delicious and wholesome for an elderly friend or neighbour. Pop around and carve them a slice of your cake or pie — take five minutes to discuss how they are feeling and what’s going on in their life. Even when you have to go back home, they will be left with a reminder that someone cares for them and their wellbeing.
Offer to Take Them Christmas Shopping
Whether you’re visiting a Christmas market, a concert, or simply taking a weekly shopping trip to the local supermarket, consider asking an elderly neighbour if they want to come along. Whether they are surrounded by people singing a carol or they get to stretch their legs and browse the supermarket shelves, it is precious time spent with another person. Being social is great for bonding and gives them an opportunity to enjoy the fresh air while interacting with others.
Send a Christmas Card
You might have gotten out of the habit of sending Christmas cards, but everyone likes receiving them. As well as being beautiful to look at, Christmas cards are proof that you have lots of friends and family who care about you and who have spent a bit of time thinking about you. Something as small as sending a Christmas card could really make an elderly relative feel comforted.
Invite them Over for Christmas Dinner
Christmas dinner is often the most difficult time for elderly people. If you can extend the offer of dinner, you will make them feel included and appreciated.
Hire Home Care Services
It‘s possible that you live too far away to spend Christmas day with your loved one. If that’s the case, home care services can send someone to happily spend the big day with your family member — a carer will keep them warm, comforted and entertained, so they don’t have a second to feel anxious or lonely. Sometimes, all you need is one friendly face to really feel the Christmas spirit.
Do you need elderly care services? At Companions of London, we understand the requirements for many different forms of elderly health care. Get in touch with us for respite care, domiciliary care and for holiday companionship.