After learning that loneliness is detrimental to health, we were given the opportunity to raise awareness of how to combat loneliness, especially those that become lonely in old age.
Although I have my children to keep me company, I often feel lonely after they have gone to bed. I am lucky that I have lots of work to get through and so I try not to dwell on it too much. It made me think about my Gran at the moment though. My Granddad has been in hospital for over eight weeks now and Gran has spent much of her time at home. She has visited Granddad for a couple of hours per day but due to the travelling, which she finds tiring, and the car park charges, which she finds expensive, she has spent a lot of time alone.
We have been visiting Gran and Granddad as much as we possibly can but it made me think about other older people that may be on their own, without their family around them. Being on your own often means that you can become ‘invisible’ to others. Do you know anybody in your area, a family member, a friend or a neighbour, who might be glad of some company?
We decided to have a family meal and invite Gran to help her feel less lonely. She has also and understandably, been worrying about Granddad’s health. Worrying and sitting alone are not things that should go together, in my opinion. My Mum has been making her some meals and sending them to Gran but we wanted to have a bit of a get together for her to enjoy too. Gran has been talking to me, not so long ago, saying that she would like to eat pizza, barbequed food, soup or a lovely salad as she had not eaten any of these lately. We decided to have a family barbeque with a salad for her to try. We also made her soup for her to put in the freezer to re-heat at a later date.
Sunrise Senior Living , who provide assisted living in care homes for the elderly, actively encourage community participation at their care homes across the UK. They have provided some recipes for this campaign to raise awareness of the growing problem of loneliness in old age. We chose to try the Chicken and Orange Salad to go with our barbeque. We also made the squash and lentil soup for Gran to eat another day.
Here is the recipe (adapted to our requirements) that we used:
- 1 iceberg lettuce
- 9 chicken breasts (we cooked ours on the barbeque)
- 2 oranges – peeled and segmented
- 2 punnets of cherry tomatoes
- 1 cucumber, diced
- 140ml of olive oil
- 70ml white wine vinegar
- Pinch of salt and pepper
- Barbeque 9 chicken breasts. We put ours in the oven until nearly cooked then placed on the barbeque to complete the cooking process and to get the smoky flavour. Make sure the chicken is well cooked.
- Cut the heart from the lettuce and tear into chunks by putting your thumbs in the middle and pulling outwards.
- Put in a large bowl. Add the cherry tomatoes, cucumber and oranges. Mix well.
- Whisk together the white wine vinegar, the olive oil with the salt and pepper.
- Drizzle the dressing onto the salad and serve with the barbequed chicken breasts.
The barbeque was a success! We played Uno, watched S and H ride their bikes (Gran hadn’t seen them do this before) and had a good old chat with lots of members of our family. My brother and Sister-in-Law, my Aunty and Uncle, my parents as well as my children and I all had a lovely time creating memories with Gran. She stayed as long as she could before she needed a rest with all the excitement. She said that she had had a fantastic time and that it had given her something different and more positive to think about.
Could you arrange a meal for someone who might be lonely? Maybe you could even just go to see them for a chat? You can find other posts about this using the hashtag #dontdinealone.
Disclosure: We were given recipe cards to recreate and were given funds to provide this meal from Sunrise Senior Living. All opinions are honest and my own.