Holiday loneliness for seniors can be a real problem, especially if a person is widowed or living on their own, whether at home or in a group setting. It’s easy to feel left out when others are celebrating with friends and family. And many times, family and friends are spread across the country. But there are ways to support your older loved ones and help them avoid the dangers of isolation and loneliness—and have a very joyous season!
8 “Gifts” That Help Erase Holiday Loneliness for Seniors:
1. Your presence.
Thinking back, what gifts do you hold most special? Chances are you aren’t thinking of a piece of jewelry or a power toolset. You’re more likely to remember a wonderful weekend with your family. A special breakfast is prepared for you by your children. Or a lovely walk with an old beau. Just being together—it’s the best gift of all.
One of the best ways to avoid holiday loneliness for seniors is to visit them. And not just one time. If you live in the same area, drop by for a visit as often as you can during the season. Bring some tea. Decorate their home with some of their treasured décors. Seeing you is a treat they’ll appreciate dearly.
2. Your attention.
It’s a busy season for sure. But let them know you are taking the time to make a memory with them. Help them read their holiday cards. Ask them about a favorite holiday memory. If a grandchild is appearing in a holiday concert, bring them to your loved one’s residence for a private “performance.” You are showing your Mom or Dad that they are a special “gift” to you—even in the midst of the hectic holiday season.
3. Your traditions.
When older adults cannot get out and about as much as they once did due to limited mobility, the holiday season can lose its luster. So why not bring your traditions to them? Take the family over for a tree-trimming party. Help them bake cookies and other favorite treats. If you’ve bought gifts they will be giving to grandchildren, drop by and wrap them together. Maybe they’d love to accompany you for an evening drive to see holiday lighting in the neighborhood. (Don’t forget the hot chocolate!)
4. Your technology.
What’s better than Rudolph’s red nose? Technology with tinsel! Schedule regular video chats and experience the season together. Sing carols. Open presents. Share memories. Include someone they’ve not seen for a long time. Holiday loneliness for seniors often evolves from feeling left out. But by using your technology as a gift, you can be sure to give them a warm virtual hug—and a big reason to smile.
5. Your warm welcome.
Sometimes an older relative might feel in the way, or a burden due to physical limitations or needs. Be sure to welcome them in your home (if possible) and be willing to adjust events or mealtimes as needed. Or, bring them a holiday meal or even help them prepare one in their kitchen. Just reminding them that they will always be important in your holiday festivities can be reassuring in countless ways.
6. Your inspiration.
Holiday loneliness for seniors can lead to depression, which can rob a senior of the energy or enthusiasm to enjoy the season. You can offer inspiration in several ways. Take them to religious services. Involve them in a charitable act. Enlist them to help think of surprises for your children. Decorate their home or their residence if they are living in a senior living community. Helping to inspire them will in turn inspire you!
7. Your imagination.
Brainstorm with your family about something new and interesting you could do for your older loved one. Maybe it’s making a scrapbook of photos and cards from years gone by. Take them with you when you volunteer at a food drive. Asking friends and relatives to mail cards so one arrives each day.
8. Your support and encouragement in getting more help when it’s needed.
Being there to listen to your loved one’s concerns is always important, and the holiday season is no exception. If you spot signs they may need more assistance, or they confide in you that their daily routine is becoming difficult, let them know you want to help. Talk with other family members and organize efforts to get information and professional advice. Should you decide to consider senior living, plan an in-person or virtual visit to a community to give you, as well as your older loved one, a firsthand look at the lifestyle.
Our gift this holiday season to residents, their friends and family.
In our communities, the holidays are filled with opportunities for celebrations that bring together residents, their families and friends, and our team members. Clearwater Living wishes to make this holiday season warm and even more memorable, so we are opening our doors to visitors to participate in our holiday events and activities with their loved ones! Call the community nearest you today to learn more!
Independent Living, Assisted Living, or Memory Care—you can discover a world of options that enable choice and empower successful aging. We invite you to come see us.