Mansfield residents encouraged to look out for people in the area who may be Lonely This Christmas
More than just a song by glam rockers Mud, being ‘Lonely this Christmas’ is a very real prospect for many people living in Mansfield and beyond.
Social isolation, or a lack of family members living close by can mean some people can go for days or weeks without any kind of contact with friends or relatives.
Figures from Age UK suggest more than 230,000 older people will spend at least one day over the festive season alone and over-65 year olds in our area are said by the charity to be at ‘high risk’ of loneliness.
There are various organisations in the area who are opening up their premises over Christmas to provide companionship and a warm welcome over the festive period. Richmond Care Home in Shirebrook, Oak Tree Lane Surgery in Mansfield and The Oaklands Centre in Warsop to name a few.
Dan Pendered, deputy manager at The Oaklands Centre was inspired to organise the traditional turkey dinner after hosting a monthly dementia cafe.
He said: “Seeing how a coffee and a conversation helped people made me think about offering a Christmas dinner for anyone who might be lonely. People who come for the meal will be able to have their dinner with our residents – loneliness is a big issue, and being alone on Christmas day won't help.”
Christmas has always been known as a time for celebrating with family, which means the festive season can also bring an increased feeling of solitude and abandonment.
If you have an elderly neighbour who very rarely has visitors, or you know of someone who lives alone, please take a minute to visit with a Christmas card, a small gift or just to say “hello”. It could mean more to them than you realise.
Another way you can help is befriending – a scheme run by Age UK: “Our friendly trained volunteers provide regular companionship, provide an opportunity to share life’s experiences and a listening ear. Whether it’s over a cup of tea, a game of cards or putting the world to rights, everyone feels the benefit of talking”.
For more information on this and the other great work Age UK does in the area, click here.