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Your Later Life Q4 2021

Brightening the festive season for older people experiencing loneliness

Image provided by: Age UK

Caroline Abrahams

Charity Director, Age UK

While Christmas for most of us is something to look forward to, it is not always the case for our elderly generation, but together we can change this.


If you are on your own, as many older people are, Christmas can seem like ‘just another day’, but if you are lonely, the special nature of the festive season can actually be quite painful, reinforcing a sense of missing out. Our research has found that among the over 65s, almost 1.5 million people (12%) say that they often feel more lonely at Christmas than at any other time of year.

Being lonely in later life

Our research has found that among the over-65s, almost 1.5 million people (12%) say that they often feel more lonely at Christmas than at any other time of year.

As we age, we accumulate years of life experience, lots of it positive but some quite difficult and sad. As the years go by, you may well find you are going to rather more funerals than weddings. In addition, the pandemic has resulted in more loss and fewer opportunities to mourn together than usual.

At a time of year when almost everything closes down, Age UK’s advice line stays open, even on Christmas Day. Last year it was a lifeline for more than 30,000 older people who phoned over the Christmas period. This year we expect to be busier than ever due to calls from older people with no one else to turn to.

Ways you can help

There are plenty of simple things we can all to do to help the older people around us to feel supported over the festive season, such as:

  • Sharing time together over coffee or lunch.
  • Sending a homemade card or gift.
  • Being a good neighbour e.g. by offering to collect shopping, which is especially appreciated in bad weather.
  • Sharing the Age UK and The Silver Line helpline numbers for practical information, advice or a cheerful chat, day or night.

Together we can all help make Christmas a little brighter for older people.

To donate please visit: ageuk.org.uk/brighterchristmas. This will help the Charity to answer more calls and continue to provide our ‘friendship calls’ to lonely older people who may not hear from anyone else at all over Christmas.

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Support is available to help with swallowing difficulties

Let your doctor or pharmacist know if you are having difficulties swallowing tablets as many common medicines are now available in alternative forms.


If you’re having trouble swallowing tablets and capsules, you’re not alone. Unfortunately, as we age, our bodies change and it becomes harder to perform certain functions.

Difficulty swallowing — otherwise known as dysphagia — isn’t solely associated with ageing and can be due to several conditions and causes. These include stroke, dementia, head and neck cancer or even a phobia of swallowing medication.

Many people over 60 have struggled to take solid medicines at some time.

Breaking stigma around geriatric health

Worryingly, some people will not take their medicines if they have difficulty swallowing them. Many people over 60 have struggled to take solid medicines at some time.

This can ultimately have a negative impact on their health, causing concern for the patient, their loved ones and carers. We need to break the stigma around talking about geriatric health, you are just as important as anyone else. This is a cause Rosemont Pharmaceuticals champion as an organisation.

Seeking advice and support

Don’t be embarrassed to have a conversation with your GP or local pharmacist about any difficulties you may face because they may be able to help.

For example, pharmacists want to do more to help patients and are increasing the clinical services they offer for their local communities. They often run national awareness campaigns, such as ‘Ask Your Pharmacist Week’, to encourage more people to use their pharmacies as a first port of call.

It is important that you take your medications correctly, as instructed by your GP or pharmacist, so they work effectively. Many people are unaware that a lot of common medicines are now available in alternative formats such as liquids, dispersible forms and mini tablets.

Rosemont have over 50 years’ experience in supporting patients with swallowing difficulties and the healthcare professionals who care for them. www.rosemontpharma.com


DTM347 November 2021

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