When we think of Christmas, we think of spending time with our families, exchanging presents, eating, eating more, and passing out on the sofa in front of The Polar Express. We don't consider it a luxury, but there are people who would give anything to experience that kind of Christmas this year.
The UK's elderly are suffering. You see, loneliness isn't just for Christmas - older people will be alone all year round, and, as John Lewis's ad tells us, some can go for a month without speaking to anyone. But loneliness is felt more acutely this time of year. This we take for granted, things we hate doing, like buying and wrapping presents, making an appearance at the work party, helping with the Christmas dinner for your family, are all things we take for granted when we consider the large proportion of people who are housebound without human contact for long periods of time. The end of the John Lewis advert for Christmas 2015 asks us to 'Show someone they're loved this Christmas'. If you wanted to give some love to someone in need this Christmas, here's how you can help.
Charity Friends Of The Elderly take donations around this time of the year in a bid to help elderly people enjoy Christmas. An £11 donations means that they can get a volunteer out to visit someone in their home on Christmas day, whilst £25 would pay for someone to join them for a Christmas lunch and festive celebration. If you, in the spirit of Christmas, want to splash out a little more, £50 will mean that the charity can train and support a new befriending volunteer to help bring an elderly person friendship all year round, and £110 could help reach up to ten lonely people this Christmas. How great is that? No matter how big or small your donation is, it really is a case of every little helps.
AgeUK have a ton of fundraising ideas to help the elderly this crimbo. From a gift wrapping service to a festive bake sale to a Christmas quiz, there's plenty you can do to bring in those funds. Or, if you're feeling really inspired by their advert with John Lewis, throw a little lunar-themed party with your friend (which obviously means you'll get to eat loads of cheese - MAJOR bonus) and leave a donation pot out for people to contribute to.
3. Send a gift
The Salvation army are collecting new, unwrapped gifts for elderly people, as well as children, families and homeless people. You can contact them here to find your nearest local appeal: firstname.lastname@example.org
A Gift For Granny is an organisation from t'up North that is also asking for gift donations to give specifically to older people who will be spending their Christmas alone or in care homes without visits from family or friends.
4. Get out and make a visit
If you live in London, then North London Cares can help you get in touch with some older people who are wanting company. The organisation says: "67% of the older neighbours in the North London Cares' network live on their own. They love spending time with younger neighbours from different backgrounds and experiences, and in turn our volunteers tell us how much they value and learn from their relationships with older people in the community."
Their 'Love Your Neighbour' project connects young professionals with older people, and all you have to do is turn up for a bit of tea and a good chat, which sounds like a perf evening to us.
How will you be helping the elderly this Christmas? Let us know! @sofeminineUK
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