Although Christmas is a very family-orientated celebration, there are often many elderly people who find it to be one of the loneliest times of the year.
According to Age UK, more than 900,000 people aged 60 or over feel lonelier through the festive season than at any other time of year. Its research found those who are widowed, unmarried or divorced feel the isolation the most and the approach to Christmas emphasises the feelings of loneliness.
If you know of an elderly person who is spending the run up to Christmas and the big day itself, on their own, here are some helpful things you can do to stop them feeling so lonely.
Offer to take them shopping or to a Christmas event
The buzz during the run up to Christmas should be enjoyed and should be spent buying gifts and embracing the festivities at Christmas markets, fairs and carol concerts, so why not offer to take an elderly relative, neighbour or friend out to do a spot of Christmas shopping in the town or at a market or you could even attend a Christmassy event, such as a carol concert, together.
This precious time spent together is great for bonding and is a great way to get the elderly person out into the fresh air and interacting with other people.
Pick up the phone
If your elderly relative or friend lives too far away for you to pop over then a telephone call can really brighten their day. Just having someone they can offload to can help an elderly person or you can keep it light and have a general chit chat – just showing them they are in your thoughts can do wonders.
Send a letter or email
Similar to a telephone call, a letter or email can help show an elderly person that you care. Many elderly people still prefer the traditional method of receiving a letter and writing one back, so if this is the case, put some time aside to write a note to a relative or friend, or if they are more confident with technology, then an email is perfect and they can respond straight away.
Invite them for Christmas dinner
The big day itself is one that lonely elderly people will dread, so having an invitation to dinner will give them something to look forward to and help them feel included. You can read our top tips for making sure an elderly person feels more involved with the festive celebrations here.
Ask for help
It’s important not to put all the pressure on yourself to look after your elderly relative, friend or neighbour. If you have other family members who live nearby, why not arrange a rota of when people can visit or if there are other neighbours on the street, ask them to get involved too, even if it is just to pop in for a quick cuppa and a catch up.
Alternatively, if you need a little extra help during the festive period, we can provide carers to suit your needs. Please get in touch to discuss options.