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Lonely at Christmas

Christmas ‘tis the season to be jolly…but not for everyone.

This time of year brings with it the opportunity to spend some valuable, often much needed, quality time with family and friends. A chance to all come together to celebrate the festive period. However, sadly, this is not the case for everyone. 

In the UK, over half of the elderly aged 75 and above live alone. Many elderly people do not have children or family living nearby and often they only have contact with their children over Skype or phone calls, instead of a visit in person. Christmas can also remind the elderly about the loss of loved ones, maybe a recently deceased husband or wife or even the loss of their own good health from previous Christmas periods.

As busy as this time of year is, it is important to remember those who are not as fortunate as others and give them the cherished gift of time and consideration. 

Many local organisations – care homes, day centres etc. are opening up their doors on Christmas Day to invite those who would otherwise be alone, to come along for a nice warm meal, surrounded by other local people, but there are some simple ways we could all reach out to lonely people this time of year: 

  • If the path to someone’s house is covered in wet, slippery leaves or ice/snow, clear a safe route so they are able to leave their home without fear of slipping over.
  • Knock on the door of an elderly neighbour to see if they need any help preparing for the festive season. This could be helping to put some Christmas decorations up, writing Christmas cards on their behalf, wrapping presents for them or taking them to do a bit of Christmas shopping. 
  • If there is a local event on, like a Christmas market or Christmas fair, see if someone would like to attend with you, and help them make this happen. 
  • Do you have a spare chair at your dinner table for Christmas Day? Extend the ultimate festive gesture and invite someone to have Christmas Dinner with you who would otherwise be on their own.
  • Elderly people can be more stoic and are more likely to not ask for help, so the emphasis is on you to make a judgement if you feel someone is lonely. If a neighbour never has visitors or doesn’t go out much, take the time to just offer to join them for a cup of tea.

It is the season of goodwill, and the difference it will make to someone who has not got anyone to share the Christmas period with will be immeasurable. 

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