Protecting Loved Ones from Loneliness this Christmas Season

The holiday season is widely recognised as a period of joy and togetherness for many people. However, it’s also true that this same period can pose a stark contrast for many older people in our communities, who might find themselves in solitude. Studies indicate that for more than 1.5 million older adults1, the festive cheer of Christmas is overshadowed by a deep sense of loneliness. This has been notably intensified by the recent pandemic and the social restrictions that accompanied it, further isolating those who are most in need of companionship during these special times.

The feeling of isolation often leads to many more complex health issues, but it’s not always easy to recognise the symptoms of loneliness. The urgency to address this grows as projections suggest that by 2025, the number of individuals over 50 facing loneliness is expected to reach two million2. This underscores the importance of safeguarding our loved ones from feelings of loneliness.

Here, Nick Turner, Managing Director of local in-home care provider Right at Home Mid Hampshire, gives tips on how to support loved ones over the festive period.

Stay connected: Encourage regular phone or video calls to stay in touch. With the technology available today, it’s easier than ever to keep a close connection even from afar.

Send thoughtful gifts: Even small gestures like sending a handwritten card or a care package can make a big difference to someone’s day and make them feel remembered and cared for.

Plan visits: If it’s safe and possible, arrange a visit. Even a short visit can lift someone’s spirits and break up the monotony that can lead to feelings of loneliness.

Involve them in activities: If they are far away, involve them in holiday planning or activities through video calls. For example, you can cook the same meal ‘together’ while on a video call or watch the same movie at the same time.

Community events: Look for community events in their area that they might enjoy and encourage them to attend. Many communities have special events around the holidays that are designed to bring people together, such as Age Space.

Volunteer together: Engaging in volunteer work can be a powerful way to combat loneliness. It can connect people to others and give them a sense of purpose.

Encourage hobbies: Suggest taking up a new hobby or rediscovering an old one. Hobbies are a great way to keep the mind engaged and can also lead to new friendships.

Professional help: If loneliness is a persistent issue, encourage them to seek the help of a professional, such as their local GP. There are many resources available for people struggling with loneliness, especially during the holidays.

Nick summarises, “Remember, the most important thing is to show that you care and are there for your loved ones, even if you can’t be there in person. Try not to feel guilty for any feelings of loneliness they might be experiencing – just do your best to support them. At Right at Home Mid Hampshire, we’re passionate about instilling a sense of independence and confidence in our clients. We nurture the relationship between our CareGivers and their clients to a stage where they feel a sense of companionship, which ultimately benefits their mental health. Our CareGivers will be visiting their clients as usual on Christmas Day and the festive period, so they will be offering support and companionship at this special time of year.

“Providing support to people who are unable to be with their families during the holiday season is about encouragement, engaging with compassionate individuals, and making certain they are made to feel valued and cherished.”

Brenda Kimble

Brenda Kimble is an entrepreneur and mother of 2 daughters and a son, plus their beagle named Duke! She loves blogging, crafting, and spending time with her family.