Issued by NHS Tees
Dying alone is a tragedy at any time of year but particularly at Christmas.
NHS Tees is helping to promote public awareness around dying, death and bereavement this Christmas time as over a million older people will spend this Christmas alone and many also risk dying alone.
Holding hands imageThis is the stark reality as bad weather adds an additional 25,000 people to the normal death toll from old age and illness at this time of year. Many older people describe themselves as always or often lonely - something that is more keenly felt over Christmas.
Yet the solution is simple and free - a conversation with our neighbours. NHS Tees is supporting the message by the National Council for Pallative Care and Dying Matters Coalition who have joined forces this Christmas to launch the 'Don't die home and alone this Christmas' campaign.
The campaign also hopes to help prevent so many older people spending Christmas alone again this year by arranging for visits and encouraging people to check on their neighbours - especially if you already know they have a problem.
Andrew Stainer, Service Reform Manager for NHS Hartlepool and NHS Stockton-on-Tees "It is time to say no to unnecessary deaths and suffering over Christmas. Small actions can have a big impact on the health and wellbeing of older people on their own. NHS Tees is asking the members of the public to look out for a neighbour, family member or friend who is on their own this Christmas, it could make all the difference.
"It's about more than just loneliness over Christmas, by talking more openly about death we have come to realise that when the time comes to die we are properly prepared for it and the right people know our wishes."
The Dying Matters Coalition (www.dyingmatters.org) has been established by the National Council for Palliative care, the umbrella charity, to help transform public attitudes towards dying, death and bereavement in England. The Dying Matters Coalition, which has over 13,800 members across all sectors, believes that promoting greater openness and communication are the first steps towards helping people exercise greater choice at end of life. To find out more about what Dying Matters is doing to promote greater openness around dying, death and bereavement, visit: www.dyingmatters.org.
Individuals can play a part in helping to ensure that older people don't die alone at home this Christmas:
- Visit any neighbours or friends you know are home and alone this Christmas, particularly if they are elderly or frail or ill.
- See if there is anything they want to talk about, any concerns they have and encourage them to talk to their GP.
- If they need any extra support see if there is anybody you can help contact.
The comments in this release represent the views of the Dying Matters Coalition and do not necessarily reflect the views of member organisations.