5 ways you can help people feel less lonely this Christmas
For most people, Christmas is a wonderful time of year. It’s a time for relaxing, seeing family, indulging in your favourite foods and drinks at every possible moment. But for some people, Christmas can be a very lonely time. Year after year we see more studies into how loneliness affects elderly people, and what’s more – it doesn’t take much to stop people from feeling so alone.
So, if you want to make a difference this Christmastime, then we’ve come up with 5 ways that you can help people feel less lonely this year.
1) Chat to them
It may seem like the most obvious thing, but talking to someone really does help them feel less lonely and more engaged with the people around them. It can be anything as small as a quick “hello, how are you doing?”, or you can sit down with a cup of tea and some biscuits.
Talking is a very easy way to make someone fee less lonely. For some individuals, it may be the only contact they have all day. So take the time to introduce yourself and your conversation could really make a difference to their day, particularly at Christmastime.
2) Keep up with them and monitor their health
Chatting with someone is also a great way to keep an eye on how they’re doing and their general health. Telling someone you feel unwell or are having issues is usually a great way to highlight that there is something wrong, and it means that someone else is keeping an eye on you as well.
One thing that is particularly prominent during winter that can cause ongoing health issues is falling over. Icy surfaces or missteps can cause huge health problems for people, and statistics show that falls are the most common cause of injury related deaths in people over 75 in the UK. Knowing if someone has had a fall in the past is particularly useful for carers and other staff who might be dealing with person’s health.
What’s more, if someone is alone a lot and has very little contact with other people, then it will be very difficult for them to tell people they have fallen over. They might have injured themselves and can’t reach the phone, so keeping an eye on their health and checking up on them is very important and will help to combat loneliness, particularly throughout Christmas and the New Year.
3) Give them a hand
Day-to-day chores around any household can be particularly tiring and labour intensive. Even something as small as carrying the washing to the washing machine can be a task! So imagine how difficult it is for someone who might not be as able-bodied and lives by themselves; every little job might feel like a mountain to climb.
Giving them a hand can be a great relief. So if you’ve got time to spare, then helping out with basic tasks like emptying the bins or doing the washing up can be a great source of relief. Helping out around the house will also help them feel less alone, even in their own home.
4) Cook an extra portion
We often find that people who live alone may end up eating less. This might be because they can’t really be bothered cooking for one, which can have a detrimental effect on their mental and physical health.
Cooking an extra portion is easy, and it doesn’t have to be too expensive for you. Just pop a bit extra in your meals. Dishes like lasagne, casseroles, pies, and chilli can be made in big batches and then frozen if necessary. One of the key things at Christmastime is the famous Christmas Dinner; there’s always leftovers and extra food. Making up another plate for someone who is alone can be vital for their health, and it gives them a chance to feel more involved during the festive season.
5) Take up volunteering
Of course, if you have the time and you’re passionate about alleviating loneliness, the volunteering is another way you can help people feel less lonely at Christmas. There are a range of different charities who look at loneliness and do work to help those who live alone.
Age UK give people the opportunity to become telephone befrienders through their Call in Time services. You call an older person as regularly as you wish and chat with them on the phone for about half an hour. This gives the person some sort of contact throughout the day, and makes them feel less alone at Christmas.
A charity called The Silver Line offers a similar service, but you write letters to older people instead. This can provide a sort of nostalgic support line for your pen pal, as none of it is digital!
These are 5 easy ways that you can help stop people from feeling lonely this Christmas. Whilst it’s the time of year to celebrate with family and friends, please remember those who don’t have anyone to share the season with. A chat, call, helping hand, or a meal can make all the difference, and it doesn’t take much time at all.