All I want for Christmas is someone to spend it with

Mon, 24 Dec 2018

Christmas is a time for family, friends, happiness and joy; but what about those who are alone this festive season with nobody to exchange gifts with or share happy memories?

Loneliness doesn’t just affect the elderly; it can happen to anyone at any age and can be a result of anything from a relationship breakdown, a death in the family, depression or even stress from arguing with family members and dealing with fallouts.

What can you do to help?

  • Look out for your neighbours. Do you know that they will be alone this Christmas?
  • Invite friends or family to your home if you know they will be spending Christmas alone
  • Try to step away from and diffuse the situation if you find yourself getting short-tempered with family members
  • The potential for domestic violence can be high during times of stress and financial pressure – if you notice anyone suffering from this, call 111 or contact the domestic violence helpline. Visit www.victimsupport.org.uk/domestic /violence or call free on 0808 167 6247.

Isolation and loneliness doesn’t just occur at Christmas, it happens all year round. The East Riding of Yorkshire hosts a number of sessions throughout the year which are beneficial to people of all ages, and for those who may feel isolated or lonely.

Sessions in the East Riding

Men in Sheds - Offers a place for men mainly aged over 44 to visit to share the tools and resources they need to work on projects of their own, such as carpentry, joinery, welding, gardening, restoration, bike repairs, boat renovation etc.

The ‘Men in Sheds Withernsea’ project is a larger version of the typical man’s shed in the garden, and is a place where men can feel at home in a safe and friendly environment, whilst meeting new people, working on projects in their own time and at their own pace, whilst avoiding potential loneliness, social isolation, physical illness, disability and mental health issues.

Walking Sports (walking football, netball and cricket) - Walking sports are offered to East Riding residents as part of the council’s Let’s Get Moving programme, which is commissioned by adult services with the aim of helping people stay fit and active regardless of ability.

Walking sports are designed to encourage over 50s to take part in fun, sociable games perhaps after having to take a break due to illness or injury or to simply improve fitness and meet new people.

Dementia-related sessions

There are some sessions listed below which benefit those with dementia, as well as their loved ones, in order to prevent loneliness and isolation. It is often the carer who benefits from meeting others in a similar situation.

  • Reading Books on Prescription

This helps you to understand and manage your health and wellbeing through helpful reading. The scheme is run by The Reading Agency in partnership with the Society of Chief Librarians with funding from Arts Council England and the Wellcome Trust. It is endorsed by health organisations, including NHS England and Public Health England, and delivered through public libraries.

  • Safe Places Scheme

The Safe Places Scheme is a Humberside Police initiative across the Humber region and helps vulnerable people to stay safe while out and about in their community.

All East Riding of Yorkshire Council venues are now registered as Safe Places, which offer people suffering from dementia, learning disabilities/difficulties or people in need of help, a safe haven to visit where they can find help and support.

  • Knit and Natter

Knit and Natter is a knitting group open for anyone to attend. Research has shown that knitting has therapeutic qualities similar to meditation; it can also help prevent and manage stress and pain.

Library knitting groups offer improved health and wellbeing and a lively group of new friends for all ages and abilities.

  • Writing groups

Creative writing has been linked to improved mood and well-being, as well as more physical benefits such as lower blood pressure.

Share your love of writing with others, and take steps to get your work to print. From short stories, poetry, book reviews, magazine articles, there’s a writing experience to suit everyone.

  • Reading groups

Reading reduces stress by 68% and risk of dementia by 35%. Broaden your horizons, meet like-minded people and explore the fascinating world of literature. For information on your nearest session please contact your local library.

  • Reminiscence sessions

These sessions help people living with dementia and their carers to share memories and receive support in the East Riding.

The sessions, which are endorsed by the Alzheimer’s Society, are aimed at enabling those living with dementia to meet others in a similar situation and enjoy reminiscing together.

During the sessions items from memory boxes, photographs and books are used to stimulate conversation.

  • Dementia Friendly Leisure

Dementia-friendly swimming and gym sessions are available throughout East Riding Leisure centres

For more information visit www.eastriding.gov.uk