According to Age UK, more than 3.8m people in England over the age of 75 live alone, with 40% saying that the television is their main source of company.
Add to this figure the fact that 7% of older people are in contact with family, friends or neighbours less than once a week and it paints a bleak picture for older people over the forthcoming festive period.
Hayden Knight, CEO at Orchard Care Homes, is taking a positive stance in the fight to combat loneliness at Christmas by encouraging care organisations to follow in his company’s footsteps and invite older people living on their own to join in the fun at one of the Orchard’s portfolio.
“Christmas is a special time for families to come together and celebrate the festive period, gathering to enjoy a meal and spending quality time together. For those older people living on their own, it’s a difficult time of the year that promotes memories of past times when they too enjoyed the company of their families and friends.”
“We are opening the doors to our homes across the North of England and inviting older people who face spending Christmas alone to join the Orchard family, its residents and staff at their local Orchard care home over the festive period. We will warmly welcome older people from the local community to join us for the day, lunch or dinner, and we will even arrange for their transport. We would urge other organisations to do the same and provide a homely place and enjoy the festivities as one big family.”
Recent analysis (psychcentral.com) of lonely and non-lonely seniors found that lonely seniors suffered from various medical conditions at a higher rate such as hypertension (3.1%) diabetes (2.4%) and heart conditions (5.3%). Even more reasons to make every effort to keep in touch with loved ones, friends and neighbours who live on their own, including them in family events or just popping round for a cup of tea and a chat.
Hayden continued, “At Orchard, we believe that every person is unique, and the care within our homes is tailored to their needs, wishes, life history and interests. We strive to work closely with residents’ family and friends to ensure continuity and a genuine connection between the past and the present. As specialists in the care of older people, we want to give our guests a taste of what it’s like to live at one of our care homes, to feel part of a family community and to enjoy some good food and company at a special time of the year.”