Reigniting the Christmas spirit
The festive season can be a difficult time for the older generation, but retirement homes are working to ensure that it continues to be merry
In 2018, new analysis by Age UK revealed that half a million older people were expecting to feel lonely over Christmas, with 230,000 saying that they would be on their own for at least one day over the festive season. These statistics come as a clear reminder that the festive season isn’t necessarily a time of celebration for everyone. However, many leading care home providers are now working to make Christmas that bit merrier.
Leading the way is Audley, who have retirement villages across the UK. The general wellbeing of residents is evidently a key consideration here – sociable restaurants, health clubs and libraries are part of every village, which have been carefully designed to ensure that retirement living can be as enjoyable as possible. This approach continues into the Christmas period: this year they have many events planned for their residents, including Christmas markets. The restaurants will all be offering fantastic festive menus – on Christmas Day residents can enjoy a turkey with all the trimmings, whilst there is also a special festive afternoon tea, a Boxing Day brunch and menus for New Year’s Eve.
Paul Morgan, managing director of operations at Audley, explains that events like this are particularly important over the festive period. ‘Christmas, while full of cheer for many, can be a difficult time for some and this is one of the reasons we put on a full schedule of events,’ he says. ‘It’s a great way to bring everyone together.’
McCarthy and Stone are also keenly aware of the challenges that can arise over the festive period. Christmas in their developments is filled with traditional touches such as carols and mince pies, and a number of their developments are also organising their own specific events too. ‘Many of our homeowners have built a real sense of community within their homes and what better way to celebrate these long-lasting friendships than by sharing Christmas together,’ reflects Geoff Bates from McCarthy and Stone. PegasusLife will also be holding a number of community festive events to celebrate Christmas this year. ‘Living socially among others is a huge part of wellbeing,’ adds Helen Hogg, general manager at Park House in Harpenden.
Sadly loneliness amongst the older generation over the festive season is nothing new, but recent years have seen care homes and retirement villages working to change this. Christmas is now being treated as an opportunity to rally the community together and revisit fond traditions and memories.
‘Living socially among others is a huge part of wellbeing’
BELOW: McCarthy and Stone aim to bring people together at Christmas
ABOVE: Dinner set to be served at PegasusLife