With many people planning to return to a normal year of festivities, it can easily go unnoticed that for some – mainly the elderly who are widowed or have limited family – this is another year of celebrating Christmas alone or with minimal human interaction.
Loneliness rates are the highest among the elderly population with 1.4 million older people in the UK often feeling lonely.
With Christmas approaching, these are only set to rise. Luca Rado, co-founder of The Live In Care Company has compiled his expert knowledge in elderly care and well-being into three ways to combat loneliness over the Christmas period:
Distraction can sometimes be the best way to eliminate feelings of loneliness so finding an activity to do such as knitting a Christmas scarf, baking or creating a window display is a great way to focus on something more positive, taking a person’s mind away from the fact that they are on their own. Window displays can be an easy activity for elderly people to do at home during Christmas. Window displays can include hanging Christmas cards and fairy lights around the window ledge. You can also buy sticky snowflakes that stick to glass windows and are easy to put up. Knitting is also a great activity as it can keep your brain sharp and it requires you to use many parts of your brain at once. Not only is knitting good for cognition and for coordination but it is also thought to be good for mental health since repetitive movements can be calming and relaxing. Knitting a Christmas scarf or hat is a really great way of engaging older people and it can also be a social activity for them to do with others.
Digital disconnection is one of the biggest risks of all. Whilst grandchildren and adult children can easily share pictures, videos, and voice notes, this is all very new to this generation. There are lots of advancements in technology to suit senior users or those with dexterity issues to be able to still stay in touch easily. Technology isn’t the only answer; it’s heartwarming to also receive letters or ‘thinking of you’ gifts. Regular contact is the key here. Loneliness, like all feelings, isn’t easy for someone to always communicate. Staying in regular contact keeps the communication and conversation channel open should they wish to discuss their feelings or ask for extra support and help.
Maintain a routine
Maintaining a healthy routine is important when spending time alone over the festive period. Although it is tempting to stay in pyjamas all day if you’re staying at home, getting up, having breakfast and getting dressed will improve your mood and headspace. It is also best to stretch your activities throughout the day and try to go to bed at a normal time.
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