Christmas – a time for connections

Press Release – Age Concern

Christmas should be a joyful time. However, for socially isolated older people, it may not be. Age Concern New Zealand reminds people not to forget about their older friends, relatives and neighbours this holiday season.Media Release: Age Concern New Zealand

Monday, December 19, 2011

Christmas – a time for connections

Christmas should be a joyful time. However, for socially isolated older people, it may not be. Age Concern New Zealand reminds people not to forget about their older friends, relatives and neighbours this holiday season.

Age Concern New Zealand President, Liz Baxendine, says many older people live alone and the holiday season can reinforce feelings of loneliness.

“It is important we show some Christmas spirit and think of those who may be alone.

“A phone call, a brief visit or an invitation for a cup of tea may be all it takes to brighten a lonely person’s day,” she says.

Mrs Baxendine suggests the holiday period could be an opportunity for older people to introduce themselves to neighbouring families, who are usually busy at work and school.

“These days families are often geographically separated and having an older friend may be mutually beneficial.”

For those who are contemplating spending Christmas Day alone but would prefer to have company, a large number of organisations and churches offer free Christmas dinners.

“By attending a shared event you are also adding to other people’s enjoyment. Think of it as community building,” she says.

Mrs Baxendine says research has proven social connections can protect against a range of health problems such as heart disease, stroke and depression.

For more information contact your local Age Concern or visit www.ageconcern.org.nz

ENDS

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