Christmas and the New Year can be one of the loneliest times for people.
For those of us with family and friends it is a great time to socialise and celebrate the season, but it’s particularly tough for the estimated one million-plus older people who are chronically lonely.
It doesn’t have to be that way and campaigns to make a difference are rightly gaining attention.
Good Morning Britain’s ‘I Million Minutes Campaign’ is a great idea to mobilise and encourage people to pledge just 30 minutes of their time to help an older person or to give more time if they can.
The TV programme has teamed up with charities like Age Concern UK to promote opportunities to volunteer; anything from making a weekly phone call to an older person, to helping out at organised activities or popping around to help an elderly neighbour.
Residents in our care homes have the support they need. They can be assured of receiving care and compassion from trained staff who will identify any feelings of loneliness and act on them to help the individual concerned.
Our social life co-ordinators are skilled in organising activities to engage people and help them to join in and make new friends with fellow residents.
Inventive and creative ideas are used to make every day the best it can be so that no one feels lonely. This month’s special carol service at Shrewsbury Abbey for example is sure to be a much-appreciated get-together for all concerned.
In addition to arranging special events and activities, trips between our homes are proving popular too. A minibus takes residents from one home to enjoy an afternoon at another home where they can have tea and meet and talk to new people.
It’s a simple idea but effective, as hopefully the ‘I Million Minutes’ initiative will be.
To find out more about how loneliness affects older people visit Campaign to End Loneliness