In this instalment, we will be sharing some ways in which you can help combat loneliness amongst the elderly over the festive period. Everyone should have someone to spend Christmas with yet this year many older people will have no one to share it with. This year’s John Lewis Christmas advert pulled on many of our heart strings. John Lewis teamed up with Age UK to help raise awareness of the number of older people who will be spending Christmas alone.
There are lots of ways you can help lonely or socially isolated elderly people in your community. Through advice from both the NHS and AGE UK, we have listed some ways in which you can help someone feel loved this Christmas.
Get to know your neighbour: If you don’t already know your neighbours, take the opportunity to introduce yourself. This may be when you see them next, just ask them if you can help out in any way. Do they need some shopping collecting for Christmas? If you know someone who does live alone or someone who doesn’t leave their house much, then reach out to these people because these are the ones who will most likely appreciate your effort.
Start a conversation: If you see an elderly neighbour on the street, why not take some time to stop and have a chat with them. A few simple questions such as asking if they need help with their shopping, posting letters or setting up their holiday decorations. Asking these questions and offering your help could make their day.
Share your time: A very rewarding way to help combat loneliness is to volunteer for organisations that support older people. These often offer “befriending” schemes for isolated elderly people, and rely on volunteers for one-to-one contact “buddy”, visitor or driver, or hosting social events for groups. There are many volunteering opportunities available in Sheffield, especially near Christmas time, why not try something new out this Christmas.
Share a meal: Some older people struggle making a meal for themselves, and they need a helping hand. Why not share time with a neighbour by taking them an extra serving of a hot, home cooked meal, or even a frozen portion they can heat up or microwave. Either way, your kind gesture would be appreciated!
It’s the thought that counts: This may mean something as simple as sending a card or posting one through the letterbox, dropping off a little present, or calling in for a cup of tea can go a long way to making an elderly neighbour feel loved.
It is our hope that you all have a happy Christmas with your loved ones. By doing one kind deed for an elderly person this December, you are making a positive difference to someone’s life!
Here at Home Instead Sheffield, we have developed a WOW guide in an attempt to combat social isolation amongst adults. It involves over 120 activities such as; coffee mornings, lunch clubs, singing groups, dance classes, support groups and other clubs and societies. Since releasing the WOW Guide we have had nothing but positive feedback. Our own clients have used it and it has played a massive role in getting them out of the house and getting involved in activities they never thought they could. If you would like a copy of the WOW Guide then please do not hesitate to call us on 0114 246 9666.
I’d love to hear from you! To make a suggestion for a future topic, please write to me at [email protected] or by post to Home Instead, Haywood House, Hydra Business Park, Nether Lane, Ecclesfield, Sheffield, S35 9ZX