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Care for the elderly over Christmas

15/12/2016

We all remember that John Lewis advert that highlighted the plight of nearly half the elderly population in the UK. Christmas can be one of the loneliest times of year for over 65’s, so this year we want to share with you just how to care for the elderly over Christmas.

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Volunteer

Charities across the UK offer volunteering services throughout the year. Charities such as Age UK, the Royal Voluntary Service and Independent Age all offer volunteering opportunities, and provide essential services to those who are less mobile, or less able.

Volunteering is as flexible as you make it. With so many opportunities, you can fit them in around your weekly schedule. Opportunities include:

  • Telephone volunteering. A phone call is all it takes to bring someone out of social exclusion. If you have a spare 20 – 30 minutes a week, and like a good chat, then this could be for you.
  • Community Befriending. As a friend in the community, you’ll be matched with someone with similar interests. You’ll visit your new friend every week, which always brings a smile to their face.
  • Social Event volunteering. Many charities and local communities host social events that elderly people are invited to. These social events help establish new relationships, and bring back the joy of interacting with the local community.

Invite someone to lunch

You don’t have to whip up a three-course banquet, inviting an elderly friend or neighbour round for a cup of tea and cake is all it takes.

Research conducted by the Campaign to End Loneliness charity found that just over half (51%) of all people aged 75 and over now live alone. They also found that 17% of elderly people are in contact with friends, family and neighbours less than once a week.

This means that a regular invite for a sit down and a chat can help reduce loneliness and depression. Not only that, in the age of technology, actually having someone to talk to face-to-face can bring others out of isolation.

Offer to help

Sometimes it can just be as simple as offering to help. If you see your elderly neighbour in the street, then take the time to stop and talk to them. Remind them that you’re just around the corner, and all they need to do is ask.

If you don’t see them on a regular basis, then pop a Christmas card through their door, and leave them a message saying that if they need anything then to just give you a call. Just knowing that someone is available can really help those living alone, or those without relatives nearby.

Make sure you check on your elderly neighbours

Even if you’re not on first name terms, you occasionally see neighbours in passing. But there are a few signs to look out for and points to remember when caring for an elderly neighbour.

  • Have you seen them recently?
  • If you have their contact number, do they answer their phone?
  • Do you regularly see lights on through their windows?
  • Do their bins get put out for collection?
  • If you haven’t seen them for a while, do they answer their front door?

It doesn’t take long, but if the answer is no to any of the questions above, then try to get in touch with them. Accidents do happen, and checking to see if someone is OK can make all the difference.

So there we have it, some of the ways that you can help care for the elderly over Christmas.

You might cringe about making an appearance at a Christmas party, or can’t stand the sight of wrapping paper, but always remember this time of the year can be especially hard for elderly people living alone.

It doesn’t take a lot to bring happiness to someone’s day, so all you need to do is take that first step. Would you want someone to make the same gesture when you reach retirement?

@ Care Quest