With Covid-19 still affecting us all in a big way it’s essential that we do not forget the ones who are lonely and also in pain.
The average person will cope with some type of acute pain in their lifetime but most won’t have to suffer from chronic pain, so unless they have been in this sort of pain they have no idea what it is like.
Time and time again I get told how ‘well’ I look as if I must be making up how I am actually feeling. Many a day I’ve felt despair, rage and profound disappointment that I could not do certain jobs. My life has changed so much over the years that I can hardly believe it.
Plus, at this time of year everyone, in particular, women (sorry fellas) just don’t seem to stop so there will be many of us suffering in silence and also worrying about how we are going to make Christmas seem a bit like normal if at all possible.
If you know someone who will be on their own and has access to a laptop or iPhone then make sure you book a time to be with them so they can enjoy games with you all even though they are not with you. We have bought a new game this year which we know we can play together on Google hang outs or Zoom. I hope we don’t have to resort to this but we will have fun with it anyway. Of course not everyone has access or can even work a modern laptop or iPhone but the old fashioned phone works just as well. Elderly people have a lifetime of stories to tell. When an elderly person opens up about how life used to be and what they have experienced over eighty years, then this can have great benefit to younger generations.
Of course there will also be many people grieving for their loss this year. It is always difficult over Christmas and so if you know someone going through this make sure they know where support networks are for the bereaved. Not everyone has family or friends to spend Christmas with and for many the 25th of December is just another day.
Even for elderly people that do have friends, their pride may stop them from accepting an invite to join their friend’s family bubble, because they don’t want to be a burden or because they are very frightened of getting Covid-19.
According to The Guardian twice the number of people as normal are expecting to spend Christmas alone this year as a result of the pandemic, according to figures that have prompted new concerns about a “silent epidemic of loneliness”. The issue is particularly acute among those aged 65 and over, with as many as 1.7 million people saying they expected to be alone on Christmas Day.
Crisis say that this Christmas there frontline teams will be providing food and festive treats. They will still be on hand with emotional and wellbeing support, offering everything from Christmas games and advice to volunteer befrienders. Nutritious meals, somewhere to stay, help for the future – it will make such a difference to people.
At Age UK you can volunteer to be a telephone befriender. They offer free telephone friendship services for older people so they can enjoy chatting with someone over the phone, all from the comfort of your their home. One of their services matches volunteers with older members of the public to have a weekly 30-minute chat together.
As a volunteer, you’d befriend someone who’s 60 or over. It’s a fun, safe, easy way to get to know someone new from the comfort of your own home, so very Covid-19 safe. Lots of people tell us the chats are the highlight of their week.