Even though advertisers portray the holidays as “Hallmark moments”, they can oftentimes seem like quite the opposite for many seniors. According to a recent AARP Loneliness and Social Connections survey, over one-third of elderly Americans feel lonely and depressed during the holiday season. On the other hand, seniors who stay socially engaged all year long enjoy better emotional, mental and physical health. If your aging loved one struggles with senior loneliness during the holidays, here are some simple ways to remind them just how much they’re loved.
Get Them Out of the House
If your aging in place senior is homebound either by choice or because of poor health, schedule a time to get them out of the house to join you for one of these fun holiday activities:
- Holiday concert or play
- Christmas shopping
- Church service or community social event
- Your child’s school holiday program
Invite Them to Your Place
Participating in family holiday traditions is a great way to improve a senior’s sense of belonging while showing them just how much they’re loved and appreciated. Prepare a comfortable place for them before they arrive, and then watch their face light up while joining you later for traditions like:
- Decorating the holiday tree
- Playing some board games
- Baking cookies and pies
- Watching old Christmas movies
- Caroling in the neighborhood
If your senior has dementia or Alzheimer’s, participating in holiday traditions may just remind them of warm memories from their past.
Listen to Their Experiences
Older family members are a wealth of lifetime knowledge. The holidays are the perfect time to let them share their stories, and maybe even record them for future viewing. Pull out those old photo albums that are collecting dust in your attic and then listen patiently as the memories flow. Your kids may even be amazed at some of the holiday experiences their grandparent has to share.
Mail Old-Fashioned Holiday Cards
Even though we live in a digital age, many people still like to receive old-fashioned holiday cards in their mailbox. But because of health limitations like poor vision or arthritis, your loved one may not be able to send holiday cards like they used to. Sit down with them, compile a list of recipients they’d like to mail cards to, and then help them address the envelopes and write messages inside. Once the cards are ready, offer to drop them off at the post office to save them the trouble.
Get Them Involved in the Community
Many seniors get depressed and lonely because they feel like they’re not needed anymore. Encourage you loved one to serve others in the community during the holiday season by participating in activities like:
- Delivering cookies that you’ve baked together to shut-ins
- Teaching a quilting, knitting or woodworking class
- Helping-out with a local food drive
- Volunteering at the hospital or cancer center
- Visiting their old friends who are in nursing homes
Boosting an elderly person’s sense of purpose is a great way to kick feelings of loneliness and depression to the curb for good.
Hire Them a Temporary Companion
When your holiday schedule is simply too hectic or you live over an hour away, another option you have is hiring your senior a professional caregiver from a licensed home care agency. Even if it’s just temporary, finding someone trustworthy who can spend quality time in your loved one’s home during the holidays will help keep them happy and healthy all season long!
Reliable In-Home Companionship for Seniors in Florida
Helping an aging in place loved one overcome senior loneliness during the holidays can be challenging when you’re busy or live far away. When you need a hand, contact First In Care. As a fully licensed and insured home care agency in Florida, our highly trained companion caregivers will be happy to serve as an extended family in your loved one’s home so they will feel safe and comfortable right where they want to be.
While in the home, our carefully screened aides can also perform reliable duties like light housework, personal hygiene, meals, medication reminders and transportation. And, all our family trusted home care and skilled nursing services can be individually personalized into an affordable package that’ll put your mind at ease! To learn more about First In Care now, or to schedule a FREE, in-home assessment for a senior in Manatee County, FL, today, please visit us at: www.firstincare.com.