Feelings of loneliness can be heightened at Christmas. Whilst many spend the holidays visiting friends and family, it can be a sad and lonely time for elderly people living in isolation.
According to Age UK, more than 2 million people over the age of 75 live alone. Sadly, over a million older people say they can go for at least a month without speaking to a friend, neighbour or family member. Over half of those asked said they rely on the TV for companionship over the festive period.
We decided to try and brighten up Christmas for those who may not receive a gift due to living in isolation.
Age Connects Torfaen provides an essential lifeline to older people living on their own, in our area.
They offer a range of services at their facilities in Sebastopol to help increase the independence of their service users. They aim is to reduce poverty, loneliness and isolation for elderly people living in their own homes.
Throughout December they held a number of parties at their facilities. No one should be alone at Christmas, and the parties were a chance for the elderly guests to socialise and be merry. We wanted to help give them an extra reason to smile this Christmas. For the final quarter of the year we made up Christmas hampers to be given to the service users of Age Connects Torfaen.
The hampers included a calendar diary, puzzle book, a box of biscuits and a hot chocolate and mug set. They also each contained scarfs, gloves and a toiletry gift set.
Staff helped us make up the hampers and load them up on the van. Our Employee Engagement Officer, Danielle Nash, then helped deliver the hampers to the Age Connects facilities.
Danielle enjoyed a cup of tea and chat with some of the guests after we had dropped of the hampers:
“It was great to see where our dress down money went for the final quarter of 2018, and what an amazing cause for us to support! It was lovely to see how the presents made the elderly guests so happy, and they were so grateful.
I got the chance to sit down with some of the adults in the bistro whilst they were enjoying some food. They were telling us about all the different events they attend at the centre and how much they enjoy it.
It was great to see what Age Connects Torfaen does to help those who are living in isolation, making sure they are getting out and enjoying life.”
Emma Wotton expressed her gratitude for the Christmas hampers:
“The rising phenomenon of loneliness among older people is ever present over the festive period.
Through the kind efforts of the staff at the We Plan Group, we have been able to hand out over 90 Christmas Goody Bags to people who are on their own this Christmas or experiencing financial troubles.
The people of Torfaen have been overwhelmed with the generosity of the staff and were handed the bags at some of the special Christmas parties we have held over the weekend.
Other bags were taken to people who are housebound due to their disabilities and this was a great surprise to all who received them.”
Thanks to the generosity of our staff 95 elderly people will have a smile on Christmas day as they open the gifts given from all of us here at the We Plan Group.