Companionship at Christmas

One charity is preparing to open its doors to those facing the holiday season on their own.

Abbeyfield, the charity that provides housing care and services to older people across the UK, is hoping older people that will be alone over Christmas – residents with elderly neighbours living alone, and family members in need of respite support over the festive period – will take up the offer of help and call the freephone number.

The charity will then match the caller with the nearest participating Abbeyfield house or care home.

Home from home

The aim is to give older people some company over the festive period, and pair them with others from a home-from-home alternative.

As part of the free offer, the charity will be offering a delicious Christmas lunch and, in some cases, overnight accomodation in Abbeyfield locations across the country.

Attack of loneliness

Living alone or feeling lonely is something that is sadly accepted and not discussed. However, in the run-up to Christmas when there is a barrage of cheery festive advertisements depicting happy times shared with family and friends, the sense of isolation and loneliness that usually goes unnoticed can be magnified.

According to the Campaign to End Loneliness, loneliness still continues to plague society.

Social isolation is considered to be just as harmful as smoking or being an alcoholic and, according to recent studies, does more damage to your health than not exercising.

As the Abbeyfield Christmas initiative begins, we would like everyone to consider someone that they know to be living alone without much contact with others to either bring this campaign to their attention, visit our website to find out more about the nearest participating house, or contact us.

So if you are, or you know of someone who is aged 55 and over, currently living independently in their own home and will be alone or lonely over Christmas, then the charity would like to hear from you.

The campaign has already received the backing from a number of MPs, other charitable organisations and local authorities charged with taking care of the elderly around the country.

Please call 0845 052 3553 if you wish to find out more about Companionship at Christmas. Or if you wish to volunteer for the Christmas initiative, contact the charity on 01727 857 536.

Paul Allen, Abbeyfield’s CEO says: “Our aim is to enhance the quality of life for older people. We hope that people accept our invitation and contact us now – it will really enhance the Christmas experience.”