Look out for el­derly and vul­ner­a­ble

Blairgowrie Advertiser - - NEWS -

At the fes­tive sea­son, in amongst all the fun and jovi­al­ity, thoughts can also turn to the year that has passed as we all re­flect our own per­sonal tri­umphs and tribu­la­tions.

This year has been a year that will long be talked about, but sadly, of­ten for the wrong rea­sons.

We have ex­pe­ri­enced ter­ror­ist at­tacks that claimed in­no­cent lives, to dra­matic world events in­clud­ing the in­au­gu­ra­tion of the 45th pres­i­dent of the USA and an es­ca­la­tion of ten­sions with North Korea.

We have also had a snap gen­eral elec­tion that saw an ar­ro­gant Con­ser­va­tive party lose its ma­jor­ity, an over­con­fi­dent SNP lose seats in Scot­land and a resur­gent Labour party de­liv­er­ing a pos­i­tive mes­sage of hope and real change, mak­ing elec­toral progress.

Yet for most peo­ple their re­flec­tions are of­ten closer to home as thoughts turn to friends and fam­ily.We make a toast to those per­haps no longer with us, and a toast to the fu­ture with chal­lenges and ex­cite­ment ahead.

It is a time where we meet with those that we may have not seen in a while and those that we may not see again un­til next year.

It is a time when we talk, but just im­por­tantly lis­ten. A time when, hope­fully, we can put our phones down for five min­utes and have ac­tual con­ver­sa­tions.

Sadly, it is al­ready a time when many feel lonely.

No one should have to be alone at Christ­mas time, yet al­most a mil­lion older peo­ple across the coun­try will feel lone­lier at this time than at any other point of the year, with over 60,000 older peo­ple in Scot­land spend­ing Christ­mas Day alone.

Ac­cord­ing to Age Scot­land around 80,000 say thatTV is their only com­pany over Christ­mas and NewYear, with one in five keep­ing it on all day be­cause“it’s lovely to hear hu­man voices”.

Lone­li­ness and iso­la­tion can strike any­one. From poor health, be­reave­ment, mo­bil­ity is­sues, a lack of con­fi­dence or suf­fer­ing anx­i­ety, there are many rea­sons why peo­ple will be alone this Christ­mas.

This can have a se­ri­ous im­pact on long term phys­i­cal and men­tal health, in­clud­ing heart prob­lems, strokes and de­men­tia.

Yet we can all do our lit­tle bit to reach out.We can vol­un­teer as a be­frien­der or just sim­ply pop around to visit a neigh­bour for a cup of tea or a bis­cuit. It may only be half an hour, but to them it will be the high­light of their day.

And while you might be fac­ing a hec­tic day, that break just might be the best part of your day too.

As we head in to 2018, whilst be­ing mind­ful of the world events tak­ing place we should be fo­cus­ing on the change that we can make in Scot­land, in par­lia­ment and in our com­mu­ni­ties.

I hope you all had a Merry Christ­mas and a happy and pros­per­ous new year.

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