How to get support with loneliness this Christmas

Christmas is traditionally a time to spend with family, but this year will be different for so many of us.

Even during ‘normal’ times almost a million older people feel lonelier at Christmas. However, this year a poll shows that twice as many people are expected to be alone due to the pandemic.

Loneliness can have as much an impact on poor health as a long term illness and it is not something that can be treated with medication or that can be referred for hospital treatment. Here at Doro we have seen an increase in calls from customers who are more anxious than normal, may need extra reassurance and support or simply would like to have a chat because they are lonely and won’t be able to see family or friends this year.

Here’s our 12 Days of Christmas guide to helping support someone with loneliness:

  1. The charity Re-engage has launched ‘call companions’ – a free service for older people who live alone and feel they could do with a friendly phone call every week or two.
  2. The Campaign to End Loneliness has great tips and advice for staying connected if you’re shielding.
  3. Comedian Sarah Millican leads a Twitter campaign for anyone starting to worry about being alone/lonely on Christmas Day, using the hashag #JoinIn, now in its 10th year.
  4. Call The Silver Line for a chat. It’s the only confidential, free helpline for older people across the UK that’s open 24 hours a day, seven days a week 0800 4 70 80 90.
  5. The Jo Cox Commission has launched The Great Winter Get Together which has five great ways people can connect this winter.
  6. Worried about something happening to a loved one you can’t visit? A lifeline pendant and alarm  gives peace of mind to individuals and their family, knowing that at a press of a button someone is there to help.
  7. Let’s Talk Loneliness is the UK Government’s website that brings together practical advice, inspiring stories and support routes to encourage people to take the first steps to alleviate loneliness.
  8. Get online and join Gransnet – it’s the busiest social networking site for the over 50s. At its heart is a buzzing forum where users debate the hot topics of the day, support each other through tough times and share a laugh.
  9. Worried about something happening to you if you do go out? Wear a silicone wristband and the emergency services can ring the phone number on the wristband and be advised of any important medical information about you.
  10. Age UK befriending service – a free telephone friendship service so you can enjoy chatting with someone over the phone, all from the comfort of your own home.
  11. Mind’s online community Side by Side is a safe place to connect with others who understand what you’re going through.
  12. Join the British Red Cross’s Connecting Communities – can help you connect with your local community and meet new friends, give you guidance about coping with loneliness and offer tips to help others.