I have a really useful guest post today about the elderly and Christmas, it really made me think about the people I know and if they’ll have family around them at Christmas time. I know I take for granted my busy, bustling Christmas.
Though for many of us Christmas is an exciting time, filled with presents, merry-making and the obligatory office parties, for older people Christmas can be a time of extreme loneliness and anxiety for the future.
According to a recent survey around 26% or 2.8 million over 65s were not looking forward to Christmas. So what exactly are the concerns of the elderly this year, and what can we all do to help?
1. Being alone
A major concern for many elderly people this Christmas is being alone. A recent report estimates that around 450,000 people over 65 will be alone this Christmas, with many more people only having limited contact with friends or family.
This isolation is due to a number of factors from geographically spread out families to health problems. But whatever the cause, the result can make Christmas a time of sadness and loneliness for many.
Another compounding factor is missing friends and family who have passed away with around 17% of those polled stating that they found Christmas especially difficult for dealing with their memories.
2.Heating their home
A major concern for many elderly people is being able to heat their home during the Christmas period and throughout the year.
This is a real and important issue that can lead to serious health problems if not dealt with. Although the government has brought in some measures to help ease the financial difficulty of those in fuel poverty, many still face the stark reality of a cold Christmas.
3. Being house bound
Due to the snow and ice that clog the roads and pavements and the shorter, darker days, many older people feel increasingly isolated during the winter months. A study by Age Concern showed that up to one in five older people felt trapped in their homes over the winter months, something that can lead to depression, loneliness and boredom.
The cold days and nights of the winter months have long been known to bring on health problems in the elderly and Christmas time is no exception.
If you or a loved one’s mobility has been limited due to arthritis or any other conditions which are aggravated by the cold, you could consider renting stairliftsto make mobility inside your house a lot easier.
5. Being forgotten
Being forgotten or marginalised is a real concern for many elderly people, especially at a time of year that’s aimed towards families and children. The best way to combat this is to reach out to friends and family and make an effort to keep in touch on a regular basis.
Getting involved in the lives of your children and grandchildren can be incredibly rewarding and could make this Christmas extra special.
If you’re an elderly person concerned about Christmas, don’t worry you’re not alone.
Millions of others across the country have similar fears, so don’t be afraid to get in touch with support groups and re-connect with friends and family this festive time.
This is a collaborative post