How you can support lonely people this Christmas
Monday, December 9th, 2019 | Blog
Christmas is a time of joy, happiness and lots of sweet treats. For many it’s time we spend with loved ones watching films and talking about the year we’ve had, but for others it can be a time of isolation and loneliness. Age UK estimates that 200,000 elderly people will spend Christmas alone this year, a figure that’s staggering when you consider that’s not far off the population of Northampton. A whole town worth of people will spend Christmas alone this year!
The issue of loneliness can’t be solved overnight, but there are some ways we can all help, however little or small they may be. The following steps will hopefully make it easy for you to help an individual who may be lonely in your local community.
It might sound simple, but saying hello could really mean a lot to someone who hasn’t had any human interaction for a while. Is there neighbour on your street who lives alone? Have you noticed someone on public transport who always seems to travel alone? Start a conversation, ask how their day is going. You might just be surprised by how much they have to talk about!
Include them in your weekly shop
If you’ve got a local neighbour who lives alone and who may struggle to get their weekly shopping, why not pop in and ask them if you can grab anything when you go? It’s a small gesture which will go along way and it will also open up a dialogue. It’s the small gestures which mean the most for some people.
Invite someone round for tea
There’s always an abundance of food over Christmas, so why not invite one of your neighbours round for tea? Making space for one more doesn’t require too much effort, and you might be surprised at the stories they have to tell
Volunteer work comes in all forms and sizes and it may be easier to volunteer than you think it is. One of the most prominent charities working with the elderly is Age UK, which has a number of different initiatives dedicated to supporting the elderly. One such initiative is the Telephone Befriending Service in which volunteers spend time on the phone with lonely elderly people. Age UK match individuals based on hobbies, so there will always be something to talk about!
If you would like to find out more, please visit the Age UK website by clicking the link at the end of the article.
Reach out to family and friends
Even when we are surrounded by friends and loved ones, some people can still feel very isolated or alone if they are going through a difficult period. Make sure you reach out to family members who may have recently experienced a bereavement, even if it’s something as simple as a short phone call.
Pass out extra gifts
If you can afford to, grab some extra gifts this Christmas for people who may be vulnerable in your area. This is a gesture which will let someone know you are thinking about them, showing that they aren’t truly alone.
We can all help make this Christmas a little less lonely for those people who live alone. Is there anyone you help support in your local area? Do you plan to support anyone? Let us know in the comments below.
Click the link below to find out more about the Age UK Telephone Befriending service.