Winter can be a difficult time for many people, but for the older generation it can be one of the loneliest times of the year and this Christmas is set to be one of the toughest challenges yet.
Loneliness has been a problem in the UK for many years and the Coronavirus pandemic has severely heightened the issue, particularly amongst the older generation.
Stephanie Warren, the manager of Abbey Grove Residential Home in Eccles, discusses how her residents have been affected by loneliness, and the new initiatives her care home has put in place to try and combat feeling lonely.
Ms Warren said: “We offer WhatsApp video call which some of our residents are able to comprehend but for the ones with dementia it’s not the same, they don’t grasp the concept which is really hard.
“We take photos of the residents and send it to families and we have been writing letters with them, but you do see it has an effect.
“We have been doing a lot of activities around reminiscing and talking about their families with the residents to try and make sure they don’t forget.”
Stephanie continued: “It is really sad and I get it from a relative point of view as well because my nan is in a care home in Southport and I’ve not been able to see her since March and because I’m in this profession I do know she won’t remember me now.
“I think from that perspective that is what makes me more motivated to try and make sure our residents aren’t like that and they do still remember.”
With Christmas just around the corner, the Eccles care home has been busy planning fun activities for their residents in an attempt to spread some festive cheer.
Stephanie said; “The staff here are trying to organise a socially distanced pantomime for the residents. So we have got the chairs socially distanced in the lounge and the staff are going to dress up and put a pantomime on.
“On the build-up to Christmas we always have a Christmas party, usually family would be involved but at the moment the government are still working on the visiting in care homes so we are unsure if we are going to be able to have the family, but we will still have our Christmas party.”
She added: “Christmas Eve is always Christmas pyjama day where we ask the relatives to buy festive pyjamas for the residents and we tend to have a Christmas film day and the staff dress up in their pyjamas as well and we have mince pies and little festive nibbles.
“Then Christmas Day the staff come dressed up as something Christmassy and we hand out presents to the residents and make it like a normal family Christmas.”
Unfortunately in the run-up to Christmas, we can expect to see the rates of loneliness increase, so if you are feeling alone check out this map of charities and organisations that are hoping to make a difference.