What do you think about during the holiday season? Most of us share the joy of the season with festive decorations, traditional foods, social gatherings, family, and shopping for gifts. It is a time for giving thanks and spreading good cheer. What about our senior family members and friends? Are they able to participate in the celebration? Do they live alone or out of the area?
We must keep in mind that older individuals may have a very difficult time coping during the winter holiday season and can exhibit signs of depression and sadness. Unfortunately it can be a time for remembering family and friends who have passed away. The music, smells, sounds and warmth of the holidays are usually memories of the past. In some cases, seniors may not be physically able to shop for gifts or decorate their surroundings any longer. This only adds to their feelings of isolation and loneliness.
Here are some ideas to help lessen the feelings of gloom and raise spirits:
- If your elderly friend has gifts to give, help wrap them in holiday paper.
- Offer to take them shopping for gifts they may need.
- Assist with addressing envelopes or writing out holiday cards.
- Get together and bake some good old fashioned holiday sugar cookies.
- Plan a specific day that a group of family members or friends will visit. This gives the senior something to look forward to.
- Visit the local senior center and plan to join in an activity with your elderly friend such as bingo.
- Put some holiday decorations up in their home or room, or a small Christmas tree.
- Sing some holiday tunes or have Christmas carolers stop by for a surprise visit.
- Go for a drive to look at the neighborhood holiday lights.
- If able to do so, take your senior family member to a food bank, church, or some place where they can volunteer to help others.
- Ask your senior if they know of other elderly friends who may be alone. Take some holiday cookies, gifts, or treats to them. This is a wonderful gesture that warms the heart.
The holidays are difficult times for many, but with your help you can bring some hope and joyfulness to a lonely senior. If you don’t know a senior in need this holiday, visit a nursing home and bring cheer to everyone living there!
Make it a ‘Happy Holiday’ for one and all.