In 2014 it was reported that 7% of us will be alone this Christmas Day and HALF A MILLION of the elderly will be on their own.
How you can help
There are many ways to help end loneliness this Christmas.
- Join Age UK’s campaign to end loneliness in the elderly. A million older people in the UK haven’t spoken to anyone in a month. End the silence – donate or visit a centre.
For more information visit: http://www.ageuk.org.uk/get-involved/loneliness/
- Invite your elderly relatives or neighbours round. They may not have told you they’re alone because they don’t want to be a burden.
Tips to celebrate Christmas if you are alone
Decorate for Christmas
While it may seem unusual to decorate when you’re by yourself, it is a great way to get into the Christmas spirit and lift your own spirits. Choose your favorite decorations, or go out and purchase some new ones if you don’t have any. If you enjoy making things, you can also make your own Christmas decorations for a special touch. Put up your tree, hang decorations around the house and string up a garland or two. Put some lights out the front; that way, they can be shared with everyone who goes past
Play Christmas Music
Prepare a playlist of your favourite Christmas songs, or purchase pre-recorded Christmas CDs. Keep the music playing on Christmas Day to help you feel in the spirit. An added bonus is that you can sing as loudly as you want along with the carols and not feel embarrassed!
Send Christmas cards or Christmas emails out to as many people as you can.
Send cards or email greetings to any family members.
Send them to your friends.
Send them to people you work with.
Send them to people who provide you services.
Send as many as you can; doing this will help you feel like you are sharing Christmas with others. Send the cards or greetings early and you will find that people send them back. Even though you are on your own, you will know others are thinking of you at Christmas.
Buy yourself some gifts.
It’s normal to buy things for yourself all through the year, so why not treat yourself at Christmas too. The great thing about buying gifts for yourself is that you get exactly what you want in the color, shape and size you want. Wrap the gifts up using great Christmas paper and put them under the tree to open on Christmas morning. Even though you know what they are it is still fun to open presents on Christmas morning.
Plan a great Christmas meal
Since you are celebrating Christmas on your own, you can serve all your very own favorite foods. This might be as quirky as turkey and ice cream, as functional as pizza, or as traditional as what your Mother used to make when you were little. Anything that takes your fancy. Get your favorite foods, your favorite drinks, your favorite dessert and all the trimmings. Set the table up beautifully with a special tablecloth and candles to make it feel like an extra special meal.
On Christmas Day:
Go to church if you normally do this
This will allow you to spend Christmas with others. Also it will mean that you will think more about the real meaning of Christmas and discover it is just as special whether you have hundreds of people to celebrate with or no one at all. If you are lonely, go to church services at three different churches on the day and see which is your best.
Get your favourite DVD of all time to watch, or one you have been dying to see
Watch this as part of your Christmas Day celebrations.
Find an outing that you can go to that is open on Christmas Day. Movies are often open and can be a way of being around others while enjoying a film.
Volunteer at a church, hospital, residential home or even a prison to help make other people’s Christmas special
This will allow you to be around others and to be helping. It is impossible to feel lonely when you’re helping others and it can help put your own situation into perspective.
If you want to volunteer or see what events are around your area, Community Christmas is a good source of information and can be found on http://communitychristmas.org.uk/ or their partner Friends of the Elderly on http://www.fote.org.uk
James Paget University Hospital is the main hospital that serves both Norfolk and Suffolk. If you wish to make a difference please contact the Patient Experience and Engagement Team on 01493 452304.
HMP Norwich predominantly serves the Courts of Norfolk and Suffolk and can be contacted by calling 01603 708 600.
Plan a peaceful rendezvous with nature
Go for a walk or hike and be mindful of what you see and experience. How does the air feel? What birds do you notice? What sounds do you hear? Nature has a magical way of putting things into perspective