Do you have plans for Christmas? It feels like a silly question to ask in October as Christmas is still such a long time away. In fact, while I write this I realise it’s still 59 days until Christmas!
For some people Christmas Day isn’t something to look forward to. 500,000 older people in the UK are predicted to spend Christmas Day alone. Some of these people might be spending the day alone through choice, but given the option it’s likely the majority would prefer to spend it with others.
Friends of the Elderly is calling upon people to hold local Christmas activities so no older person will be alone on Christmas Day unless they want to be.
As official partners of Community Christmas for 2015, national charity Friends of the Elderly hopes that more people than ever will get involved.
Last year there were 242 Christmas Day activities listed on the Community Christmas website, which saw a number of older people spending Christmas Day together enjoying one another’s company.
It’s fantastic to think that so many older people had the opportunity to spend Christmas Day with others if they wanted to, but many more activities are needed to ensure everyone has the choice to spend the day with others.
Friends of the Elderly and Community Christmas are calling for volunteers to give the gift of time by organising a Christmas Day activity for older people in their communities and listing the event on the Community Christmas website.
Organising an activity is easy – it’s not just about the turkey dinner, you could get people together to watch a Christmas film, share a cup of tea and a mince pie, or enjoy a Christmas Day walk. If you’re a local business owner, think about how you can open your doors to older people in your community – pub landlords and restaurant owners could operate a ‘book alone but don’t dine alone’ system, call centres could open their staff canteens for festive treats, and local taxi firms could operate a lift scheme to and from Christmas Day activities.
If you’re already organising an activity on Christmas Day, or know of one in your area, then make sure you contact Community Christmas so it can be listed on the website making it easier for older people to know what’s happening near to where they live.
Whatever you decide to do, you will help make sure more older people, who would otherwise be alone, have something to look forward to on Christmas Day – making it a very Merry Christmas indeed.
For more information please visit the Friends of the Elderly website.