Christmas cards to the lonely. CCGG2017 #6
Blogmas on the CancerCarerChats blog is a daily charitable Christmas gift guide with a twist - each post will feature an idea for a charitable act. Christmas is a time for giving whether it be for someone you know or for a stranger. Take the time at this time of the year to do a good deed, just one small act can help someone who is less fortunate than you are.
As a reminder, my mum was diagnosed with Stage IV ovarian cancer in March 2017 when I started this blog to raise awareness of the importance of early detection of ovarian cancer and my life as a carer. I care for my mum, trying to ease some of the load on her and walk by her side on this journey. It’s just as hard to watch someone you love go through pain, than to experience it yourself.
A large proportion of my life is in digital. I work supporting the website of a major international charity, I blog and put content online as a hobby. I raise awareness of Ovarian Cancer via social media such as Twitter and research my mum’s diagnosis through online communities and forums like Health Unlocked. So invariably, I’m minimalist and not a fan of Christmas cards, I don’t think I’ve actually bought a Christmas card since I was a teenager and not received more than the obligatory Christmas card from a neighbour in the last few years. To be honest, I don’t see the point of sending a card to someone who will display it for no more than a few weeks, allow it to gather dust before throwing it in the bin. But as the Christmas cards started to be displayed in shops a few months ago, I started to think about sending Christmas cards to some people who would really appreciate the gesture. For me, Christmas is a time for family. A time for my family to gather on a given day and spend the full day together, in each other’s company, with no obligation to be elsewhere. It is a time for laughter, loud discussions and lots and lots of food. There will be weeks of discussion and preparation into what we will eat on the day and the day after. To be honest, for me, I enjoy the food and the occasion of being with family so much more than the presents – hands down. I cannot imagine a Christmas alone, without family and my mum around me, the thought is unbearable and I would not wish that on anybody which is why, if I can stop someone feeling lonely, for just a minute, then I would like to do so.
There are 200,000 older people in the UK who have not had a conversation with friends or family for a month.
3.9 million older people agree the television is their main form of company and the impact of this is detrimental to health.
Loneliness can impair the cognitive function and make the brain deteriorate aswell as have an emotional impact. Sadness is an emotion we’ve all felt and we all know the effect it can have on our mood, our lifestyle and our health.
Unfortunately, with a demanding job, a part time carer role and making some time to do the things that are important to me such as raising awareness of ovarian cancer, I can’t volunteer to spend time with an elderly person. I can though, imagine the surprise and the joy from someone who has not had a conversation with friends or family for a month upon opening a Christmas card with a lovely message from a stranger that cares. This is a gift, the act of spreading joy and kindness that I would like to do this Christmas, for myself and for others.
I realise I have the power to affect a stranger’s life and make them feel less lonely. Did you know you also have this power too? It’s not too late to write a Chrismas card and pop it in the post or drop it off to an elderly neighbour you know who lives close by.
Symptoms of Ovarian Cancer
T – Toilet habit changes
E – Energy levels dropping
A – Abdominal pain/ swelling
L – Loss of appetite