Loneliness at Christmas

Content originally from Age UK

Christmas this year…

Many of us may find Christmas difficult this year for lots of different reasons. It may be that you usually enjoy the festive period but you are worried how the coronavirus will affect things.

The festive period is usually a chance for us to get together and spend quality time with our loved ones but this year families and friends will be facing tricky decisions due to Covid-19 restrictions*. It is important to stick to the rules for the safety of everyone and stay up to date with the latest government advice.

How lonely are adults in the UK?

According to a Mental Health Survey of adults carried out during the first lockdown period, one in four (24%) said they had feelings of loneliness in the “previous two weeks”. When the same question was asked shortly before lockdown, just one in ten people (10%) said they experienced these feelings. In a matter of weeks, social distancing had left millions more people in the UK feeling isolated.

The Campaign to End Loneliness believe that people of all ages need connections that matter.

There are nine million lonely people in the UK of which four million are the elderly. Many older people lack the friendship and support that we all need and find constant loneliness hardest to overcome.

What can we do to prevent loneliness?

Due to government restrictions we need to adapt how we connect with people and find new ways to stay in touch during this time.

Here are some things you can be doing to help the elderly, including older relatives, friends and neighbours:-

  • It is vital to keep up strong social networks for good mental health. 
  • Staying in touch via video calls, WhatsApp or just regular phone calls is essential.
  • Keep up your routines where possible and try to join one of the many online quizzes hosted on Facebook or YouTube, playing as a team.
  • Have regular phone calls, messages or even writing letters are lovely ways to show someone that you are thinking of them.

There is some helpful advice on how to connect digitally and make video calls available on the Age UK website.  

Age UK also run befriending services, pairing an older person with a befriender to help provide companionship. Call 0800 678 1602 or visit:- www.ageuk.org.uk

The charity Mind has some tips to help you cope including if you are spending Christmas alone.

You may be remembering the loss of a love one and need some support. Marie Curie’s new bereavement service can assist.  Simply call their support line on 0800 090 2309 or visit their website.

For more information on loneliness visit the Campaign to End Loneliness website.    

*Making a Christmas Bubble with friends/family (Gov UK)