It’ll Be Lonely This Christmas - For those living in our rural/remote community, by Jessica Sapphire Frame
The festive period is now fast approaching and for most people, it is an extremely exciting, busy time. Imagine, full houses, bursting with family, music, the clinking of glasses and eruptions of laughter. Even as I am writing this, I can hear the noise of it vibrating in my ears and mind as I remember past years of celebration with my own family.
Now, imagine, instead of noise, deafening silence, instead of sitting chatting with family and friends; sitting in a single chair... alone.
This is the case for around half a million older adults who say Christmas isn’t something they look forward to (Age UK, 2018).
But, loneliness doesn’t just affect those without family nearby, as would be expected; Age UK also found that 750’000 over 65’s widowed and living alone felt more lonely at Christmas than any other time of year. Many of our older people, in fact do have supportive family nearby, yet, many can still experience social isolation and feelings of loneliness. It is this group that are also at-risk of associated negative effects because they are less likely to talk about their experiences and feelings. Understandably, they do not want to appear ungrateful or ‘bring down the mood’ to family and community members and often downplay how they feel.
As much as visiting family and being included in the festivities will be a wonderful reprieve. Returning to an empty house can be a disabling and dispiriting situation.
At this time of year let us remember that for all of us living in our wonderful rural community, how isolating it would be without our social network. I implore everyone reading this, at this time of giving, to remember that sometimes the most significant gift you can give…. Is your TIME!
10 minutes to have a cup of tea and a chat is not only a reprieve from social isolation, but can provide a deeper, longer-lasting feeling of love, support and community! But I’ll leave you with this last thought:
‘A social network is not just for Christmas’.
If as you read this, you find it relates to you or someone you know there is a number of services aimed at reducing social isolation and loneliness so talk to your GP or local volunteer centre (Befriending Lewis, Alzheimer Scotland etc.) for support and further information.
I am also currently looking for individuals 65 and over that live alone to talk about their experiences in an independent research project to gain insight and help aid in developing services that benefit all older adults living on Lewis.
If you are interested, I would love you to be apart of it and you can get in touch with me: Jessica Sapphire Frame by: