BEREAVED elderly men are among the most vulnerable people at Christmas, said a Limerick chaplain who is urging people not to allow loved ones be isolated during the festive period, writes Anne Sheridan.
Limerick University Hospital chaplain Fr Robbie Coffey was speaking on behalf of the Pastoral Care Team at the hospital, and said that Christmas can be the loneliest time of the year for people whose loved one has died over the past year.
“When someone dies, there will typically be a great deal of support for the bereaved. But once the immediate aftermath is over and everyone gets back to their own lives, loneliness can set in. For elderly people living alone who have lost a wife or a husband, that loneliness can be most severe at Christmas as it is a period for the bereaved that was typically marked by great memories and a great sense of togetherness and celebration.
In the run up to Christmas it would make a real difference to call to see those who are living alone or recently bereaved. The worst mistake a bereaved person can make, especially at this time of year, is to isolate themselves.
Fr Coffey, who has been chaplain at the hospital for 13 years, said that elderly people who have lost their spouses can also be at risk of neglecting themselves. “If people were to drop around for even a cup of tea, or better still, insist on that person coming into their home for Christmas Day, it would mean so much.”
The Mungret Raheen Crecora Bereavement Support Group organises a number of talks on dealing with bereavement each year. See church noticeboards.