Lonely This Christmas
A recent study on loneliness revealed that over 9 million people in the UK across all age groups – more than the population of London – are either always or often lonely.
This is now recognised as posing a severe health risk with reports showing that loneliness can be as bad for health as smoking and worse than obesity.
Almost a million older people say they feel lonelier at Christmas (based on research by Age UK), and half a million older people can go up to a week without seeing or speaking to anyone, with the television as their only company.
They admit that speaking about their loneliness is very difficult, as they do not want to be seen to be a burden.
This Christmas, as a community magazine, we want to change that, but we need your help. We’ve come up with 8 simple things you can do to tackle loneliness in your community and make everyone feel more connected at Christmas.
We’ll share each of our tips on social media throughout December, and we’d like you to share your own. Use the hashtag #8 Ways, and share with us how you’re helping to reduce loneliness with festive fun.
Take time to talk
Take the time to talk to an an older person this Christmas. You could be doing your shop at the supermarket, at the pub or out for a walk. But just say a simple hello and it could make a difference to someone who’s lonely.
Give someone a call
Take the time to speak to your friends and family that you won’t be with this Christmas. A ten-minute phone call can have a big impact.
Get in touch with Community Christmas. They can help you to host a Christmas get-together in your community.
Give a neighbour a card
Ring the doorbell and hand a Christmas card to your neighbour. Start a conversation and make a connection.
Lend a hand at your local care home
Get in touch with your local care home and ask if they need some support this Christmas. Lend a helping hand with the cooking or even entertaining the residents.
Share a mince pie moment
Bake or buy some Mince Pies and share them with your friends and neighbours.
A spare chair
Do you have a spare chair at your dinner table? Know a neighbour who might be alone? Invite them to join you for Christmas dinner.
Invite the neighbours
Hosting a Christmas party? Don’t forget to invite the neighbours. If there’s anyone in your community who might be alone, send them an invite. The more the merrier!
It’s important to remember that while older people can feel lonelier at Christmas, loneliness happens all year round.
But Christmas is a great time for us to connect with each other. This December, make that moment of connection happen with a lonely older person.
2018, Your Letterbox