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I’d like some advice about helping my distressed friend.

(104 Posts)
aonk Fri 25-Sep-20 17:04:41

I would like to offer help to a close friend. She’s in her early 70s, very active and has always lived alone. She copes very well indeed but has always been able to spend Christmas with relatives. She has phoned me in tears because it looks like she could be alone this year. If the rule of 6 is still in force she won’t be able to visit the relatives. There are already 6 people in their household. I can’t invite her to my house for the same reason. We will spend the 2 days with one or other of our AC and will be 6 in total. Of course I will invite her or visit her at other times during the holiday period. I’d like to have some suggestions for her when we next meet up. She could afford a few days in a hotel if that would be possible. I don’t think she would be comfortable doing voluntary work during the festive season. Does anyone have any thoughts on how I could best help her? She’s very depressed about this.

NotTooOld Fri 25-Sep-20 17:09:10

Tell her she won't be the only one, aonk. My guess is that there will be lots of lonely people this Christmas. At least she has you as a good friend, some people have no-one at all. Not sure about the hotel. There would be other people but social distancing would apply and in the end it may be more pleasant for her to stay at home.

lemongrove Fri 25-Sep-20 17:15:52

I agree with NotTooOld and think that unless things change, planning a nice day on her own is the best way to go.
Buy her a nice present to open on the day ( even if you don’t buy one normally) and phone her on the day too, in the morning.Visit her before or after, when you can do.

Elizabeth1 Fri 25-Sep-20 17:28:14

Plan for a visit after Christmas if it suits the guidelines and help her to arrange a family visit if possible once Christmas has come and gone. It’ll give her something to look forward to once the festivities are over and done with. She may enjoy a day with you or a family member in a nice hotel without the hype of Christmas flowers whatever you’re able to suggest to your friend she’ll be very lucky not everyone has such a lovely caring friend like you.

Gandtee Fri 25-Sep-20 17:40:04

I've just had the same conversation with a friend No direct family and is usually quite content to meet up with friends weekly. She was really upset that she would be spending the Festive Season alone .We are in Scotland so no visits at all at the moment We are not able to visit another household at all. I can still meet up with her outside and go for a coffee and chat but heaven only knows what will happen in December There are going to be lots if lonely folk .

BlueBelle Fri 25-Sep-20 18:40:23

I really think people have got to be strong about this it’s two days only and thousands of people are on their own every year and even more will be this year but it’s not the end of the world
It is different and I m not unsympathetic but it really could be worse My friend usually travels to one or other of her children’s but last year she choose to have Christmas on her own I know it’s different if you chose but she said what a lovely time she had she treated herself to some special foods and drink and cooked herself a roast and watched what she wanted
In life there are many disappointments and you just have to be accepting and get on with it
This year I should have seen my son for the first time in 4 years but it wasn’t to be and it doesn’t look as if it will happen next year either but we ve both got to accept it
Don’t worry at this stage it’s September anything could happen by Christmas

Teacheranne Fri 25-Sep-20 19:29:19

Well, we've just gone back into extra lockdown, only came out of it a few weeks ago, so we cannot meet anyone in a house or garden, like it is in Scotland. I suspect that will still be the case at Christmas and I too will be alone. My daughter will be on her own as well so I'm wondering if we could form a support bubble, we haven't done so far as she is busy with work and looking after her horse and I have been able to see friends. I really don't want to spend Christmas all alone, it's alright people saying it's only one day but I suspect those people live with someone else!

This winter is going to be very tough for me and I hope I can cope with the isolation in the long, dark evenings.

Ohmother Fri 25-Sep-20 19:39:40

Ring Age Concern and see if there are any plans for local lonely at Christmas. They may have something in the offing. Will family phone her Christmas Day?

Jaxjacky Fri 25-Sep-20 20:17:14

Does she not have any close friends she could spend Christmas with?

Fuchsiarose Fri 25-Sep-20 20:36:11

Could the family split xmas day into two parts. Lunch and dinner. So your friend could be part of a group of six. Surely younger people could move their plans to accommodate your friends part in xmas?

sodapop Fri 25-Sep-20 21:00:59

I agree BlueBelle it does all get hyped up so people have unrealistic expectations.

Lemongrove had good ideas about gifts etc and arranging a nice day for aonk's friend after Christmas

MrsRochester Fri 25-Sep-20 21:09:11


Could the family split xmas day into two parts. Lunch and dinner. So your friend could be part of a group of six. Surely younger people could move their plans to accommodate your friends part in xmas?“

That would be my suggestion two. Just a couple of hours could make a huge difference to her day.

annep1 Fri 25-Sep-20 21:41:36

I feel sorry for anyone who feels lonely. Churches and local communities groups are bound to organise things.
But it's not even October yet. I've no intention of worrying that far ahead. One day at a time....

Eloethan Fri 25-Sep-20 23:19:53

I think it's ridiculous to have such a rigid rule and I'll be very surprised if the majority of people stick to it.

Curlywhirly Fri 25-Sep-20 23:33:02

I'll be very surprised if that rule will still be in force during Christmas time - ever the optimist I know! But if it is, couldn't the family she usually visits have her for brunch (before their other visitors arrive), or at teatime, or even in the evening? Or failing that, could she not join a friend who also finds themselves in the same situation?

Teacheranne Sat 26-Sep-20 00:59:06


Does she not have any close friends she could spend Christmas with?

The local lockdown I am in does not allow people from different households to meet in their houses. So if things remain the same, it doesn't matter how many friends I have, I still have to remain alone in my own house this year.

welbeck Sat 26-Sep-20 01:04:37

i think we should all try to limit entering other houses.
this is how the virus spreads.

welbeck Sat 26-Sep-20 01:06:41

the less mingling the better.
many people have internet, almost all have telephones, most have tv/radio.
and most have heating and enough to eat.
really, things could be a lot worse.
and are for some.

Grannynannywanny Sat 26-Sep-20 09:12:26

Teacheranne under the extended household guidelines you should be able to form a bubble with another household. Including staying overnight and with no need for physical distancing. My understanding is that any person living alone can currently continue to do this even if living in area where house visits are banned. Hopefully that exemption will remain in place.

Alexa Sat 26-Sep-20 09:15:08

Tell her it's like wartime not meant to be comfortable.

Jaxjacky Sat 26-Sep-20 09:28:01

Teacheranne I am planning ahead, assuming we may be the same by Christmas, anything different will be a bonus. But it’s different as we are a couple, I could only suggest maybe that good friends separately isolate for two weeks, then move in together for a month or so, becoming a household. May not be practical.

aonk Sat 26-Sep-20 09:34:00

Thank you for your kind and helpful replies. I’m going to suggest to my friend that she thinks about finding another single friend to be with. Over the years she has built up quite a few friendships so that could work. It’s a good suggestion that she could spend part of the day with her relatives but sadly this won’t work. They live at such a distance that she would have to stay overnight with them. We’re in England so currently have the rule of 6. My sympathies are with those who are more restricted. I feel we may be in the same position soon and relying on Zoom etc.

DanniRae Sat 26-Sep-20 09:34:06

I think there will be a special arrangement for Christmas Day to allow families to be together - There is 7 of us so I sincerely hope this will happen!!

MrsRochester Sat 26-Sep-20 11:47:42

There were no special arrangements for Eid when additional restrictions were brought in in the north west.
Unfortunately this virus won’t take a holiday.

spabbygirl Sun 27-Sep-20 09:35:07

maybe local churches etc will be able to help, they have bigger rooms and can do social distancing