BEING alone at Christmas is sadly the case for many older people, but with a little bit of help from a friend, the feeling of being completely alone can be avoided.
Afea Care Services founder and chief executive officer Esha Oberoi uses her experience with working with more than 500 aged and disability clients to remind us of what we can do to help others this Christmas.
"Many elderly people will be spending this Christmas alone, putting them at greater risk of depression and anxiety," Ms Oberoi says. "For many reasons, the elderly are at greater risk of social isolation: having lost a spouse and living alone, or having family move away.
"I have two young kids, so I know how quickly Christmas can seem to be all about presents and decorations, but at the end of the day it is about family, especially for those who don't have any."
Ms Oberoi's three tips are:
1. Check in on neighbours
You hear stories about people passing away quietly in their homes with no one checking on them. There are a lot of movements also on social media to show support for various social issues, like the recent #metoo, which was met with men jumping on board and sharing #Ihave - but for our elderly generation, many of whom aren't on social media, we need to be physically and emotionally available.
Checking in and asking what their plans are for Christmas can make all the difference.
2, If you know someone elderly who has limited mobility, offer to help with festive tasks
You can support the elderly by helping them write Christmas cards, hanging decorations, cooking, present shopping and generally bringing Christmas to them if they aren't able to do these things themselves.
Popping on some Christmas carols can lift spirits too.
3. Volunteer with a local charity
It might be an obvious one, but there are many charities working overtime this Christmas to support members of the community in need. Whether it is paying a visit to an aged care home to sit and talk with someone, or preparing meals, there are many ways you can lend a hand and make a difference.
For more information on Afea, go to www.afea.com.au
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