Tis’ the Season of Goodwill to all!

632x305_woman_knitting_home

It’s that time of year again when we’re all rushing around like headless turkeys, preparing for what we hope will turn out to be the perfect Christmas.

Without putting a damper on your great expectations please spare a thought for the estimated 450,000 over 65’s spending Christmas alone. Many elderly will become isolated in their own homes, fearing the dark nights and icy conditions that winter brings. Some will sit in the cold and dark, worried about their large energy bills.

In years gone by Christmas was a time for all the family to come together. Granny and the aunties, who would normally be paragons of virtue, would get merry on the sherry intended for the trifle.

After an enormous Christmas dinner everyone played games like squeak piggy squeak and spin the plate and traditional carols were sung. Many lonely elderly people have memories of the ‘good old days’ which now serve only to bring a sadness and yearning for loved ones long gone, who once shared their joy of a great but simple family Christmas.

Today the financial pressures and expectations on families to provide extravagant gifts are immense. It’s no longer acceptable for Santa to leave each child an orange, a few nuts and a bag of chocolate coins in a stocking. Now Transformers, smart phones and tablets (and I’m talking the electronic type!) are the order of the day.

Children often live far away from their relatives and for some, work commitments make a family get together impossible with the result being that many elderly people will spend Christmas apart from their family and alone.

Christmas was always a time when everything came to a stop; people went home to their families and knew they wouldn’t return to work until the New Year. All that has changed and the workforce continues, as though it’s an ordinary day. So why I ask, is nearly every elderly day care and community centre in the land closed just at a time when needed?

Christmas day renders most of us unable to move from in front of the TV, due to festive over-indulgence. We watch as the Boxing Day sales and holidays are advertised and it’s hard to believe Christmas is almost over.

Age UK tells us that a million older people in the UK haven’t spoken to anyone in a month, a very sad and shocking statistic. Its sometimes very difficult, perhaps even embarrassing for someone to admit they are lonely.

If you know someone who you think could benefit from our help at Age Concern Stone we won’t give up on anyone. We offer a really good befriending service with both male and female volunteers of all ages who will call, pop the kettle on and have a friendly chat. It often happens that after a couple of visits that person will go on to join in the fun when a group of friends visit local hostelries for lunch, or if that’s not their cup of tea then just a firm friendship bond will be formed.

If you are over 50 years of age and dreading the loneliness of Christmas or know someone who is lonely, please call Age Concern Stone & District which is run solely on a voluntary basis. Age Concern staff will be sympathetic, discrete and friendly. We hold coffee mornings on Tuesdays and Fridays and can be found at 15 Station Road Stone in the Stone Town Council offices. Get in touch on 01785 817906 or visit us Monday 10am-12.30pm. Tuesday 10 am – 4pm Thursday 10 am-4pm Friday 10 am- 12.30pm

Age Concern Stone & District survives on donations, we all work very hard fund raising, if you would like to donate to enable us to continue to help the elderly we would be very grateful. Please take cash or cheques made payable to the Age Concern Stone & District office (We do not benefit whatsoever from the two Age UK shops in the High Street)

This is the season of goodwill to all men; there may be someone lonely near to you, who perhaps would welcome a knock on the door to check they are alright or what about making up an extra plated meal on Christmas Day for them. It won’t substitute for a family visit but your smile will go a long way to making them know someone cares.

A Merry Christmas and a Healthy New year to all Gazette readers from us all at Age Concern Stone & District