This afternoon something one of my connections posted on LinkedIn caught my eye: it was a link to an article about how eating alone at mealtimes, particularly on Sunday at lunchtime, was one of the key triggers of depression in those struggling with loneliness.
Whether coping with a relationship separation, the bereavement of a partner or family member, or dealing with mental health problems that leave people feeling isolated, it’s becoming more and more apparent that loneliness is one of the primary causes of depression in our communities, particularly amongst the elderly.
It’s heartbreaking to imagine coping with the loss of a loved one or companion without the support of friends and family nearby to keep you company, and yet this is a very real problem for many living in the UK. Most of us know someone affected by depression, or have experienced the guilt and sadness of leaving an elderly relative that lives alone, after a visit that always feels too short.
I was really inspired by this story, and started looking into ways to help within my own community, and found a fantastic organisation called Contact the Elderly. Via a network of volunteers, they organise monthly Sunday afternoon tea parties for small groups of older people aged 75 and over who live alone. I absolutely love this idea, and have signed myself up to be a volunteer.
Baking is more or less my favourite way to spend time when I'm not working, and I can’t think of a more rewarding way of spending a couple of Sundays per year than helping to fight loneliness and depression while getting a sugar rush!
Who knew cake could combat depression? Baking is finally a Superpower!
Another fantastic project working to combat this issue is the Bisto Together Project, with their Spare Chair Sunday campaign. They are also promoting another great community campaign, Open House Sunday, inviting people to open up their homes to neighbours on a Sunday for lunch, or even just for tea. The aim is to encourage community spirit, help neighbourhoods get to know one another, and establish better local support networks.
If you’re interested in finding out more or want to get involved, links to both of these great projects can be found below. You can sign up as a driver, host, or administrative volunteer, and importantly, refer any elderly people living alone in your community to the schemes:
So let’s get baking, and help add a little sweetness to our communities!
Member since: 8th November 2019
I’m Chantelle. I’m a copywriter and a copywriting coach too.
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