Even with these statistics and the prevalence of isolation and loneliness, seniors aging in place often remain hidden within our greater society and neighborhoods.
This article addresses two points: 1. Helping our community recognize the difficulties of seniors aging in place during the holidays and 2. To share remedies of connection to help alleviate them.
Community Responsibility and Care for Seniors During the Holidays
Winter and the holiday season can negatively affect seniors’ health and well-being, and the communities they live in can make a big difference in their physical and cognitive health. It takes a village to care for those most fragile and in need.
Spending the holidays alone and staying inside during the cold weather exacerbates this problem — seniors experience less socialization, eat less, move less, and experience loneliness. Their health and well-being pay the price.
Spending more time alone at home with limited support systems, seniors can perceive themselves as useless, feel undervalued, and experience depression, which leads to conditions of higher risk such as heart disease, dementia, hearing loss, a slowdown in recovery from physical ailments, overall feelings of despair, and suicide.
Communities can help address these issues by first recognizing them and then fostering connection, understanding, and care for seniors. Allowing our elderly access to the resources and support needed to stay healthy and feel part of the community during the holidays is what aging-in-place organizations commit their resources to. Their support during the holidays alleviates isolation, relieves the adverse health outcomes of living alone, and gives meaning to their lives.
In the bigger picture, non-profit volunteers and resources play a pivotal role in mitigating isolation and loneliness by providing support services and advocating for seniors in their communities by giving platforms to voice their needs.
With the help of community awareness and supportive services, seniors can live safely at home with connection and care that enables them to live active, healthier lives and feel included and joyous during the holidays and all year.
Making a Difference During the Season
During this holiday season, the power to uplift the lives of our elderly neighbors lies in two meaningful actions: offering your time and making a charitable donation.
Offering your time
Aging-in-place organizations dedicate themselves to assisting older adults to live independently and comfortably in their homes for as long as possible.
Their support through needed services caters to the needs of our seniors year-round but goes the extra mile during the holiday season.
Offering your time during the holiday season can make a significant difference in the well-being of seniors in your community. Your volunteer efforts contribute to reducing isolation and loneliness.
You can help with companionship to foster connection, daily check-in visits and calls, meal delivery, assistance with keeping homes safe, pet care, and more to help seniors feel connected and cared for during what might be a lonely time.
Your assistance helps aging-in-place organizations extend their reach and offer even more support, improving seniors’ well-being and making the holiday season more joyful.
The holiday season of giving reminds us of the importance of supporting aging-in-place non-profits through charitable donations. Did you know nonprofits raise an average of 26% of their annual revenue in December alone?
Donating during this time helps to combat isolation and loneliness among seniors by providing essential resources, care, and companionship —building operating capacity such as sustaining holiday programs, implementing new programs, supporting caregiving efforts and healthy meals, and enabling sustainability for the coming year.
Donations contribute to a crucial safety net, ensuring seniors access to warm meals, health and well-being services, and social connections that elevate their well-being. By giving to aging-in-place organizations, you not only bring joy and comfort to those who might feel alone but also provide the essential support needed to create a sense of community and belonging during a season that often highlights feelings of isolation in the aging population.
Connection reduces loneliness during the holidays
Reducing isolation and loneliness during the holidays by fostering connections with acts of kindness and support can maintain a sense of belonging and give feelings of joy.
- Listen attentively to your loved one even if the discussion is negative.
- Remind them how important they are in your life.
- Help add festive touches to their home – this is an excellent activity for a volunteer.
- Bake with your loved one.
- Look at family photos, watch family or holiday movies, listen to holiday music, and do crafts.
Remember, if you’re not near them this season, their community most likely has a non-profit organization that is available and committed to their well-being while living at home. It will tend to their needs, making them feel included and safe and giving them peace.