It doesn’t have to be lonely this Christmas...
Recent research by Age UK suggests that nearly half a million people aged over 65 worry about being alone at Christmas.
Some may feel lonely or isolated due to living a long distance away from family. For others, Christmas can bring back feelings of bereavement over friends, siblings or significant others that have passed away.
And, these situations can be worsened by a perceived pressure to be positive during what is traditionally a time of celebration.
At NHG, we understand that loneliness should be treated with the same severity as depression or anxiety.
That’s why we’ve compiled this short list to help care homes deliver the best quality experience they can for their residents this Christmas.
Get involved with a ‘befriending scheme’
Public awareness of loneliness among the elderly and how it can worsen over the festive period is growing year on year.
As a result, new outreach programmes to help beat loneliness are constantly emerging.
Befriending schemes are a great way to combat feelings of social isolation and ensure patients have meaningful interactions with people on a frequent basis.
Through phone calls and personal weekly visits, befriending services can keep care home patients building real bonds of friendship well into later life.
Strengthen your staff culture
A report commissioned by NHS England last year found that most older people were failing to seek the treatment they were in need of.
Care homes should not only encourage staff to engage with residents on a more personal level, but also train them to look for signs of depression or anxiety among residents.
Establishing a more proactive work ethic amongst your carers will greatly increase the quality of care delivered to your residents.
By being perceptive and suggesting referrals for clinical treatment, counselling, or social work, carers can work together to ensure residents get the individual care they need and deserve.
Physical wellbeing plays a huge role in developing a more positive outlook on life.
As little as two hours of steady activity a week can greatly benefit mood, and is a great way to help care home residents take their minds off thoughts or feelings of loneliness.
Options for activity don’t have to be limited to exercise either. There are countless mobile classes that cater to seniors and that can be scheduled to come right to your residence.
Whether it be music, arts and crafts, baking, organising activities for your residents that get them moving or just socialising, having fun is key to optimising their wellbeing.
Create a positive environment
Creating and maintaining the right environment is a key element of delivering the highest levels of residential care, and at no time of year is this more true than at Christmas.
Christmas should be a time of warm, homely experiences – the spaces where you make those memories are integral to them.
Paying due diligence to colours, layout, and flourishes of homely character in your living areas can make a monumental contribution to the Christmas experience you provide for your residents.
Don’t allow any room to feel cold or bare, and aim to balance qualities of warm aesthetics and familial comfort with ease of use and accessibility.
Making your residence a strong, homely setting for a happy Christmas is important for sufferers of dementia as well as loneliness. Take a look at our top tips intended to help improve care for people with dementia.