Tackling elderly isolation

Yolanda Chrisp, Anne-Marie Trevlyan and Bertha Rolfe at Armstrong House in Bamburgh last Christmas.
Yolanda Chrisp, Anne-Marie Trevlyan and Bertha Rolfe at Armstrong House in Bamburgh last Christmas.

Abbeyfield is marking its 60th anniversary with the launch of its national Companionship at Christmas campaign for isolated older people living in the communities around its 500-plus homes.

The older people’s charity is holding nationwide events where Abbeyfield houses, such as Armstrong House in Bamburgh, will be offering plenty of festive food-focused events as well as overnight stays for over-55s.

Companionship at Christmas was launched at the weekend on Stir-Up Sunday, the start of Advent and the day that Christmas cakes are traditionally made to give them six weeks to mature until Christmas Day itself.

Communal cake baking sessions took place across the country in Abbeyfield houses and homes, when local older people and volunteers were asked to share in the fun with residents. Those who joined in were encouraged to come back to help ‘feed’ the cake they created together with a Christmas tipple, while building new friendships that will last long after the tinsel comes down and the tree is packed away.

Abbeyfield chief executive, Natasha Singarayer, said: “Our Companionship at Christmas campaign was born out of Abbeyfield’s desire to give as many older people as possible some golden moments to enjoy and remember. It’s a sobering thought that an estimated 500,000 older people will be spending Christmas alone this year.

“The ideal Christmas is about companionship, laughter, and being with friends and family sharing food and togetherness. But sadly for many older people who find themselves isolated during the festive period, the reality is very different.

“Companionship at Christmas will be providing just that – warmth, friendship, and of course great food – during the festive period and beyond, whether that’s getting involved in Golden Moments events or helping to prepare the Christmas Day feast.

“We hope as many people as possible will find Companionship at Christmas with us in 2016, enjoying friendship, laughter and festive food with Abbeyfield.”

If you are living alone and want to find out more about Companionship at Christmas or are concerned about a neighbour, friend or family member who is isolated, contact Abbeyfield on 01727 734 167. Companionship at Christmas will offer company, free events, entertainment, overnight stays and great festive food to over-55s living alone across the UK throughout the festive period and beyond.