With the festive season almost here, the NHS is Derbyshire is urging residents to take time to check on elderly relatives, friends and neighbours who may be alone or vulnerable this Christmas.
Many older people may find themselves on their own for the first time this year due to the loss of a loved one or they may have families who do not live nearby.
Age UK’s campaign, ‘No One Should Have No One at Christmas,’ highlights that almost a million people aged over 60 feel lonelier at Christmas time. Age UK also estimates that there are 1.2 million older people who are chronically lonely and have not spoken to a friend, neighbour or family member for a month.
There are a number of ways residents of north Derbyshire can help elderly relatives, friends and neighbours stay well over the Christmas and New Year period:
• Call in and say “hello” – let elderly neighbours know they are available to help them. Provide them with a telephone number in case of an emergency.
• Check on prescriptions – make sure they have adequate supplies of repeat prescriptions and medications to cover them during the holiday period.
• Food supplies - check that they are adequately stocked with food supplies for the festive period. Fresh milk, bread and butter are staples that will save them leaving the house if the weather takes a turn for the worse.
• Heating – talk to them about the importance of being warm. Check that their heating and other utility supplies are working properly.
• Invite them round for Christmas dinner or another family meal to help them enjoy their Christmas too.
Dr Ben Milton, Chair of NHS North Derbyshire CCG, said: “The festive season is usually a time for celebration for many families, but for too many older people it can reinforce feelings of loneliness and loss.
“This can not only make you feel miserable but also have an impact on your physical health too.
“We can all play an important role in ensuring older people feel valued and included and taking the time to call in and check on them when they possibly most need help can make all the difference. It can also potentially help to prevent serious health
issues affecting them.”
For more information on how to stay well over winter see www.nhs.uk/staywell
Age UK also offer lots of advice on looking out for frail and elderly relatives, friends and neighbours on their website at www.ageuk.org.uk