One of the biggest challenges in combatting loneliness is realising when someone you care about is lonely. Christmas can be a time when it’s easier to spot loneliness, partly because of some of the rituals of Christmas, like contacting relatives, sending cards and exchanging presents. Look out for the following:
Has your loved one given up with their usual Christmas routines, perhaps because they feel there is no point to them if they are going to be on their own? They may be neglecting their appearance or personal hygiene too.
Is your loved one more keen than usual to see you, perhaps because they are feeling lonely, or conversely, they may be unwilling to see you because their loneliness has led to a reduction in their social abilities or created a social anxiety phobia?
If your loved one has come to visit you, are they less enthusiastic than usual about returning to their own home?
If you have gone to visit your loved one, is their previously clean and tidy home now more neglected or perhaps they aren’t eating as well as they used to?
If you speak to your loved one on the phone, are they unusually vague about what they’ve been doing, lacking in motivation or talking in a way that suggests they feel worthless?
If your loved one is living with dementia, they may be particularly at risk of loneliness. The Alzheimer’s Society revealed earlier this year that 58 percent of people living with dementia in the community who they had surveyed admitted that they had experienced loneliness.