The season of goodwill is nearly upon us and everybody needs a good neighbour. NHS Chorley and South Ribble Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is wishing everyone a merry Christmas and a happy new year, whilst urging local residents to spare a thought for others during the forthcoming Christmas period.
The festive period is often a time for celebration, a time for family and friends and a time for giving, but for some Christmas can be a very lonely time.
Dr Gora Bangi, a local GP and Chair at the CCG, said: “Christmas is the perfect time for everyone to be a good neighbour and spread the Christmas spirit. If you have a neighbour who you know could be on their own this Christmas, why not give them a quick visit to make sure they are okay. It will cost you nothing but could mean a great deal to them.”
In times of economic hardship it is also important for us to remember the true meaning of Christmas. It is not about how much you spend, it is about the time you spend with your loved ones and the spirit of communities coming together in celebration.
Steps you can do to be a good neighbour this Christmas:
Spend time with neighbours. Elderly people are often lonely due to the fact they have little interaction with others during the day. Many elderly people just enjoy talking with others, and you stopping by just to chat can make their day.
Bring them festive goodies or gifts. Everyone enjoys receiving presents and the elderly are no different. Making something or purchasing a gift is a great way to show an elderly individual that you care about them and they haven’t been forgotten.
Offer assistance in decorating their house for Christmas. Many elderly people would like to have a Christmas tree or lights on their house but due to the physical limitations of their body. However, you must remember to help them take down decorations after the festive season as they won’t be able to do it by themselves and may be too afraid to ask you.
Many elderly individuals enjoy getting out to experience some of the festive activities and traditions, yet they don’t want to go alone. If you and your family going out invite an elderly friend or neighbour along to enjoy it with you.
Assist them with Christmas shopping. One of the best ways to help an elderly person during the festive season is to help them with their shopping. You can make the experience easier by offering to take them.
For those concerned that they will find themselves in need of some company this Christmas we urge people to contact their local Help the Aged group, Samaritans or the Mental Health Helpline.
Samaritans operates a 24 hour help and support service for people of all ages with trained volunteers on call to provide confidential advice on 08457 909090 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. The Mental Health Helpline, run by Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust can provide comfort and reassurance that support is available, and is open Monday to Friday from 7pm till 11pm and 12noon to 12 midnight Saturday and Sunday on freephone 0500 639000. You can find your local Help the Aged or Salvation Army group in the phonebook or online.