A survey from Age UK showed that Christmas is the loneliest time of year for over 1.5 million older people, especially those who are widowed. Three-quarters of over 65s said that their first Christmas after losing someone was the hardest.
For those that might not have family nearby or close relationships with family, Christmas can be an incredibly lonely time – especially with cold weather, social clubs on hold and shops shut for bank holidays. For those that can’t get out and about as they once did, being at home alone can be a year-round thing, sometimes seeing their family at Christmas highlights how lonely they might feel the rest of the year.
If a loved one has suffered a recent bereavement or spends a lot of time alone, it’s important to try and spend time with them when you can – ask if you can help with tasks such as shopping, cooking, and cleaning or if you don’t live nearby try to have regular calls and stay in touch.
It might be worth looking into live in care for your loved one if you can’t be there to support them as much as you would like to, if they need help and support around the house.
Live-in care is when a carer lives at home with the person they care for, they have their own room and agreed hours, but it provides round the clock care and company for someone. Helping them with all aspects of their day from help getting up and ready in the morning, assistance with personal care, preparing food, running errands, and doing shopping, getting to appointments, or even just providing some company during their favourite daytime tv show or reading the paper.
Live in carers can also help around the house completing chores such as cleaning, laundry, tidying up and cooking.
This companionship can be a lifeline for some people, providing the medical and personal care they need as well as someone to talk and interact with. We aim to match our carers carefully with their clients, so they have the basis for a fantastic professional relationship.
If you are preparing to host a loved one for Christmas who might need additional care, then it is worth talking to their carer about their needs if they will be taking time off over Christmas. It is likely they have built up a routine together and they will be aware of all their needs. Organising a handover with the carer can be helpful for this.
If a loved one will be staying with you for a few days, ensure your home is accessible for them. If they have reduced mobility, set up a bedroom downstairs if you can if there is a downstairs bathroom.
Otherwise, you might want to assist them with the stairs when they do need to go up and down and try to keep the floor clear of obstacles and trip hazards – which can be a challenge at Christmas if other young children are in the home!
If you’re planning to visit a loved one for Christmas, why not share a meal or bring some leftovers or prepared food? Older people often need a hand cooking for themselves so ready meals they can easily heat up can be a major help.
Ask if there is anything you can do to help around the house such as taking out the rubbish, changing a lightbulb and checking on the heating or even just grabbing a few essentials from the shop.
Look out for signs of illness and ensure they are warm enough, with a blanket on their lap and lots of warm thin layers. If you notice their home is cold, check on the heating or see if the radiators need bleeding. If they are concerned about the cost of heating bills, help them with research into help with fuel costs – such as comparing energy suppliers or looking into government schemes.
We hope you and your loved ones have a very happy Christmas and fantastic new year.
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