In Spain, about 2 million people over 65 live alone. According to the National Statistics Office, women represent 75%. Many of them have limited mobility or poor physical condition, forcing them to stay home during these special periods. But the biggest problem is not entirely a health problem.
These days, more aggressive illnesses can erode their emotional stability. At Christmas, the loneliness of the elderly looms over the homes of hundreds of thousands of socially isolated elderly people, and also on the fringes of family celebrations that are so common at this time of year.
Christmas is a precious time for many people and overwhelming for others. Also, this year we are caught in a huge emotional shock, especially for elderly people. No wonder: loneliness is deadlier than the coronavirus. The confinement and the new restrictions make older people feel lonely, have fear and even feel panic… We must take responsibility and respect the new restrictions imposed on these Christmas dates. However, we must not forget our family. Although people have limitations in social gatherings and social distancing measures, we can express our love for them even if it is not through physical contact. Our seniors also need this positive attitude and to be able to describe these holidays in this way.
At DNX, among companies and organizations dedicated to the care of the elderly, one of the areas that worries us the most is that loneliness can become a trigger for other more serious problems. Lack of emotion and attention is more dangerous than lack of proper medical treatment. Some diseases can only be cured through direct contact with others.
The World Health Organization itself warns that loneliness is a decisive factor in increasing the deterioration of the physical and psychological conditions of the elderly. Talking with them, accompanying them, and making them feel loved and protected must be maintained 365 days a year, as also be particularly sensitive to days as important as Christmas. Loneliness can jeopardize self-esteem, accelerate cognitive decline, lead to home confinement, increase the incidence of cardiovascular disease, etc.
Given this bleak prospect, is there a solution? Fortunately, yes, and they are becoming increasingly popular, especially during these calendar periods when no one can stay home alone. For this reason, in many countries, there are already plans to avoid the loneliness of the elderly at Christmas.
Thanks to accompanying activities, inclusive activities, and continuous support for the social development of the elderly, the saddest and loneliest aspect of Christmas is gradually changing. We still have a long way to go, but at least we are sure that we have many options to reach out to elderly people when they need us most…
DNX wishes you a Merry Christmas!!