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Loneliness at Christmas is a growing issue as our population gets older. Today, 19% of the population is 65 or over and this is increasing.

Christmas is a time when we’re given plenty of messages about spending it with friends and family, being together and spending quality time with one another. But what if you don’t have that?

For many older people, Christmas is a time filled with isolation and loneliness. Time is spent filled with memories of the past and the present is bleak.

It’s important that we help to combat loneliness at Christmas and make it a time that older people can look forward to, helping them to thrive.

Loneliness at Christmas is a problem

Recent statistics from Age UK show that 2.3 million older people wish they had someone to spend time with at Christmas and 1.6 million said that Christmas Day is the hardest day of the year for them.

Societal pressures and advertising can amplify feelings of loneliness at Christmas if you don’t have people to spend time with, and it can be hard to know where to turn to and how to combat feelings of loneliness.

There’s also evidence that links loneliness to your physical health – the risk of cardiovascular disease, hypertension, diabetes, infectious diseases, impaired cognitive function, depression, and anxiety are all increased if you have poor social connections.

With Christmas right around the corner, it’s important that we try to reduce the impact of loneliness for the wellbeing of our community.

How can you combat loneliness at Christmas?

With lots of places closing during the Christmas period, usual spaces for connection and meaning can be lost which makes it harder – amplifying those feelings of loneliness.

It can mean extra effort to find places that are open or have things happening, but it’s an effort well made as it can lead to valuable connection during a time when you really need it.

Have a look at local groups and clubs that are running activities. Cafes and restaurants often have events happening and give you an opportunity to meet new faces and have people to chat with.

If you can, reach out to family and friends and let them know how you’re feeling. It’s easy to assume that the people we love are ok, so let them know if you need to see them and want to spend more time with them.

Creating new traditions can also help to bring you some joy and ease the memories of previous traditions that might feel sad or heavy if you no longer take part in them or have someone with whom to share them. Visit somewhere new, buy some new decorations, or spend Christmas volunteering – these and others can be powerful ways to combat feelings of loneliness.

If you’re really struggling with feelings of loneliness at Christmas, then reach out for professional support. Age UK and The Silver Line offer weekly companionship over the phone or a confidential telephone service that’s available 24/7, 365 days a year for support.

If you need to speak to someone, then give them a call.

The Silver Line 0800 4 70 80 90
Age UK 0800 434 6105

How do we help beat loneliness at Christmas?

At Chevrons Living, our small community of retired residents nurtures togetherness all year round, but we make sure that Christmas is full of opportunities for connection and meaning.

Here are a few of the ways in which we make Christmas a time for our residents to look forward to:

• Christmas Dinner
There are drinks and merriment in the bar, and a sing song of some Christmas classics before everyone sits down to enjoy a traditional homemade Christmas dinner of turkey, stuffing and all the trimmings. Our Chef also creates some sumptuous puddings for our residents to enjoy including Christmas pudding, trifle, and an indulgent yule log. And our residents’ families are welcome too!
• Carol Singing
In the build-up to Christmas, we host carol singing in the Elizabeth bar, where residents can grab a festive glass of fizz, a mug of mulled wine or a craft beer and join in the fun. We sing all the classics that people know and love, and we’re joined by a local choir for the occasion to make it extra special.
• Wreath-making workshops
A local florist hosts a wreath making workshop for our residents and members of the local community, so that they can connect while making a beautiful wreath to hang on their doors. We offer a warm drink and a piece of cake while they twist greenery, holly and berries and mix them with spices, oranges and beautiful bows.
• Trips to Christmas markets
We’re fortunate to be located close to Salisbury and Winchester, both of which have fantastic Christmas markets. Crammed with carefully crafted gifts, festive food and drink, and beautiful lights, our Escape Committee takes our residents on days out to enjoy the markets and immerse themselves in the sights and sounds.
• Local church services and groups
There are plenty of local church services in Fordingbridge in the run-up to Christmas, with carol concerts to enjoy. There are also local groups that offer activities and crafts to do in the build-up to Christmas, details of which we circulate to residents so that they have plenty of opportunities to get out and mingle.

If you want to come and explore what Christmas is like at Chevrons Independent Living, a brand-new retirement community in Hampshire, then email or call us to arrange a time to pop in info@chevronsliving.com 01425 200 428

Chevrons Living
17 Green Lane,
Fordingbridge,
Hampshire,
SP6 1HT

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