Food, glorious food, is central to the Christmas experience but the opportunity for feasting and sharing festive fun and laughter can be thin on the ground for older people who live alone.
If you – or someone you know – are 55 years + and living on your own we have news about something that might interest you.
Abbeyfield Society are inviting people in the UK aged over 55 who live alone into its 500-plus homes and houses across the UK to share free Christmas meals, cake and of course companionship, laughter and warmth.
Good, home cooked food combined with company is a real tonic, and it’s especially pertinent at this time of the year when many older people find themselves alone.
89% of older people surveyed in a recent poll commissioned by Abbeyfield said that company was crucial to a good Christmas, and 73% felt that sharing food in the company of others was an essential ingredient of a good Christmas.
90 year old Elizabeth was widowed 40 years ago. Her children – now grown up with family of their own – are spread out around the country. Elizabeth suffers from chronic mobility issues, which means she rarely leaves her home. For the last two years Elizabeth has enjoyed Christmas at her local Abbeyfield House. This means she enjoys a proper, home cooked Christmas lunch – something she wouldn’t bother to prepare or make at home. More importantly, it means Elizabeth meets and eats with other people, sharing conversations and making new friends.
“It made all the difference to me. It was such a relief to know you were going to be somewhere with people around you, not spending it alone and pretending it was just another day”, Elizabeth said about spending Christmas at her local Abbeyfield House.
“I enjoy it so much. I like to socialise and talk with people. Having somewhere like Abbeyfield to go to at Christmas is such a wonderful idea. Unfortunately at this time of year I don’t have anyone around me any more – I would be completely alone without Abbeyfield. Christmas time meant lonely days for me – you’ll find a lot of old folk say that. Coming to Abbeyfield has changed that for me. The food is lovely, but what matters most is that you sit and you eat with company.”
Aled Jones, whose angelic version of The Snowman theme Walking In The Air, will forever be a part of Christmas. Aled, a patron of Abbeyfield, said: “Imagine Christmas Day without Christmas dinner. For many older people who live on their own, that is their reality. Thanks to Abbeyfield’s Coping at Christmas campaign, it doesn’t have to be. They are throwing open their doors to offer lovely food, lots of Christmas activities and companionship – all things that can make a huge difference to older people’s quality of life at any time of the year, but no more so than at Christmas.”
“I’m delighted to be supporting Coping at Christmas 2015 and will be spreading the message far and wide. Abbeyfield is offering the hand of friendship and lots of fun festive events, so older people know they don’t have to be alone this Christmas.”
If you or anyone you know is interested in finding out more about Abbeyfield’s Coping at Christmas offer or would like to know about an Abbeyfield event near you, call the Coping at Christmas hotline on 01727 734077.