Loneliness rates are the highest amongst the elderly population with 1.4 million older people in the UK often feeling lonely, and with Christmas approaching, this is only set to rise. For some, this Christmas will be similar to last year and they will be spending it alone. This can be challenging and causes people to experience a mix of different emotions over the festive period, so Luca Rado, co-founder of The Live In Care Company has compiled his expert knowledge in elderly care and wellbeing to provide 3 ways to combat loneliness over the Christmas period.
1. Keeping busy
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 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 great way of engaging seniors and it can also be a social activity for them to do with others.
2. Stay connected
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.
3. 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.
It is important to look out for your loved one’s who are spending this time of the year alone, even if you can’t physically be with them. If you are struggling with loneliness or know someone who is, you can find further information in The Live In Care Company’s care guides here: https://www.theliveincarecompany.co.uk/care-guides/