Friends of the Elderly, a UK based charity, is calling on everyone to Be a Friend and reach out to the half a million older people who will spend Christmas alone this year.
83% of people in a recent survey recognised that Christmas is an especially difficult time of year to be alone.
Despite this, more than one in five people say they have never done anything for an older neighbour or member of the community at Christmas time.
While 62% of respondents feel they could do more to support older people at this time of year, 34% say they simply don’t have the time and 31% say they don’t know how.
Steve Allen, Chief Executive at Friends of the Elderly, said:
“Loneliness is a big problem but we know that it will make a real difference if everyone simply gets to know the people who live around them and look out for each other where they can.
Wishing someone a Merry Christmas or having a brief chat might not seem like much, but it can make the world of difference to an older person who has no family and friends around.”
Friends of the Elderly recognises that finding the time to do something is an issue for many people, especially at this time of year. That’s why the charity has come up with a list of ideas to help people save a bit of time and think about how they could Be a Friend.
10 Ways You Can ‘Be a Friend’ This Christmas (& Beyond!)
1. On the way to work or at the supermarket, wish an older person you meet a Happy Christmas and stop for a chat.
2. Help an older person load bags of Christmas shopping into their car or onto the bus.
3. When you’re writing Christmas cards for friends and family, write an extra one for an older neighbour then drop it round in person.
4. Offer to show an older neighbour how to do an online Christmas shop.
5. Ask an older neighbour to share their special Christmas recipes.
6. Invite an older neighbour over for a drink and a mince pie, or for a festive drink at your local pub.
7. If you’re off to do your Christmas shopping, ask an older neighbour if they’d like to come along or if they need anything picking up.
8. If you know they’ll be on their own this year, ask an older neighbour to join you for Christmas dinner.
9. Whether you’re off to the pantomime, the Christmas market or a carol service, invite an older neighbour to join you and your family for a festive day out.
10. Ask an older neighbour to join you at a Boxing Day football match, or to come over watch the fixtures on TV.
For more information on how you can help, and to make your promise to Be a Friend visit www.beafriendtoday.org.uk.