Home Instead's gift giving scheme for the elderly in Oldham and Saddleworth

Whilst Christmas can be a time of joy for many, loneliness and isolation can be a real problem for older people living on their own.

As Christmas approaches it’s easy to get swept away in the excitement and frenzy of all the festivities but whilst families and friends are celebrating, many elderly people find the holiday season a difficult time.

Over half of all people over the age of 75 live on their own in the UK, and for those who might not have family members nearby, loneliness can be a real issue, especially at this time of year. Normal routines are out of sync, usual visitors and appointments are put on hold, even the television schedule is unfamiliar, so it’s important that we remember to take some time out to look after our elderly friends and neighbours.

That’s why at Home Instead we run a gift giving scheme every year called Santa to a Senior. The idea is simple; identify lonely or isolated older people in our local community and deliver them a present, just in time for the big day.

If you’d like to get involved we’re looking for donations. Things like: biscuits, chocolates, toiletries, socks, hats, gloves, novelty gifts, books, hot water bottles etc. Any gift you feel suitable for an older person, but please avoid foods in need of refrigeration or with a short shelf life.

Alternatively, if you know someone who you think would benefit from receiving a gift from Santa, give us a call and we’ll see what we can arrange!

We’re collecting presents at our High Street office in Uppermill (next to the Police Station) until Friday 15th December.

Let’s work together and spread a little extra joy this Christmas, HO HO HO.

Here’s a few additional ideas which you could use to help out any elderly friends or neighbours in the build up to Christmas:

Take a moment to think before you dash off to do a shop. At this time of year, with the crowds and the weather, elderly people can find it tricky to get out and about. Take their shopping list with you and you’ll have done your good deed for the day.

If you have space for an elderly neighbour to join your family and friends for a meal, why not invite them over. Older people can be forgetful about food and struggle with appetite. Eating a home-cooked meal amongst friends, is a great appetite stimulant.

Home-baked goodies are always welcome, especially at this time of year. It’s fun for even the most novice bakers to try making mince pies. Your elderly friends and neighbours will be delighted to receive some baked treats, especially if you stop for a chat over a cup of tea.

Find out if there are any festive get togethers or community concerts suitable for older people in your area. See if you can take someone along and get into the festive spirit together.

Older people can struggle with dexterity, so why not pop round and offer to help with their Christmas wrapping, writing cards, or getting things to the post office.

If you know someone who may benefit from Home Instead’s companionship service, pass on our contact details or contact us on their behalf to arrange a free no obligation meeting. We can help to combat lonliness and social isolation, improving mood, happiness and wellbeing.