The countdown to Christmas is now on and Lancashire residents are being encouraged to send a card to their local care home to brighten up someone's day.
Cards for Kindness, a campaign to tackle loneliness and isolation amongst older people, launches on Tuesday 1 December.
The campaign is now in its third year, but this time it's even more important that people get involved.
There are more than 11,000 people living in the region's care homes and because of the Covid-19 outbreak and restrictions in place, some of our residents may face feelings of loneliness and isolation more than ever this year.
This means receiving a Christmas card will be particularly important. It's always nice to receive post and opening a Christmas card helps to promote a feeling of connection to the local community as well as initiating conversations among the residents and bringing back happy memories.
Research shows that these conversations can have many health benefits, particularly for people who are living with dementia.
Talib Yaseen OBE, Executive Director of Transformation from the Lancashire and South Cumbria Integrated Care System, said:
“Cards for Kindness is a wonderful way to spread a little Christmas spirit by sending a festive greetings card to people living in our local care homes.
Cards for Kindness is a joint project, with local authority, NHS, education and voluntary, community, faith and social enterprise (VCFSE) organisations working together to reduce loneliness of care home residents.
We know that Cards for Kindness has made a big impact in previous years with residents and staff telling us how much joy the cards have brought and how they have sparked nostalgic conversations about Christmases gone by.”
County Councillor Graham Gooch, Lancashire County Council's cabinet member for adult services, said:
"The restrictions that are in place to stop the spread of coronavirus and reduce the pressure on our NHS are crucial.
However, they will mean that many more of the 11,000 people who live in the county's 425 care homes have massively reduced opportunities for visitors and won't be able to go home and stay with relatives.
Other residents don't have friends or family to visit them at all.
Staff in the care homes do an absolutely superb job organising activities to ensure communities who live there can socialise and connect to each other.
However, despite their best efforts, the problem of loneliness and isolation is set to be an even bigger issue this year because of the pandemic. This is a massive problem as figures show that living in isolation can have a similar effect on our health than smoking 15 cigarettes per day.
We'd encourage everyone to help us combat loneliness by sending a card to their local care home. It will also be a great way to show appreciation to care home staff for their hard work too. Just one extra card will only take a couple of minutes to write, but make a world of difference to someone's life this Christmas."
More than 100 care homes have signed up to Cards for Kindness this year.
Taking part is easy, simply write your card addressed to residents and pop it in the post. Addresses of all the care homes involved and instructions on how to take part are available on the Cards for Kindness webpage.
Those sending Christmas cards are encouraged to share their experience on social media using #CardsForKindness.