For most people, the holidays are joyous occasions in which they enjoy a home-cooked meal, receive and give gifts, and share time with the people they love. For many, it provides a welcome pause from work and stress and allows them to truly bond with their loved ones.
Unfortunately, seniors who live on their own may not only miss out on typical holiday traditions like enjoying home-cooked meals and gift-giving but spend the holidays alone and depressed.
According to the National Center for Health Statistics, almost 50% of all long-term care senior residents have no living relations. From those that do have family, only 40% receive visitors from family. That means that only 1 in five will see family, and these statistics are before COVID-19.
Feelings of isolation are a common and frequent occurrence for many seniors. However, because of social distancing guidelines, this year’s holidays are likely to be more sad and depressing. Holidays often conjure up memories of loved ones they’ve lost, the family they may no longer see, or serve to highlight their loneliness & solitude.
This year will be even harder for seniors. Many are dealing with the fear of getting COVID, missing opportunities to see loved ones, and having usual holiday events canceled. In a world that is more connected, seeing seniors alone and depressed is difficult to comprehend.
In an ideal world, everyone would enjoy the holidays and feel merry and bright. Although it may not be possible to brighten up every seniors’ holiday, there are ways you help one or a small group of seniors feel less lonely during the holidays.
3 Ways You Can Help Lonely Seniors
Here are 3 easy ways to help seniors feel less lonely, help them avoid the ‘holiday blues’ and brighten their holiday.
Send Greeting Cards
Sending a gift or greeting card to a senior who would otherwise not receive one is a great way of cheering up a lonely senior’s holiday season.
If you don’t have a particular senior in mind, you can mail or drop off a card or even a bunch of cards to a nursing home or senior care facility. The home’s activities director should be able to distribute the cards to seniors they know are most vulnerable to isolation and depression.
You can enlist the help of your church, co-workers, or other social organization to help with this initiative.
Spread Holiday Cheer To A Senior
Visiting a senior during the holidays can help them feel less lonely. However, because of social distancing, being in close contact with a senior may not be possible/ideal. But even with social distancing guidelines in place, you can still cheer up their holidays.
One way to connect with seniors this season and still be safe is caroling outside their home or help them decorate. You can go caroling outside their homes to help get them in the holiday mood, drop off a holiday meal/small Christmas tree, or even offer to decorate the outside of their home.
Call A Senior
Connecting with seniors during the holidays is very important and can be done easily through a video or a simple phone call.
For those who don’t have a senior in their life but want to help seniors through the holidays, calling a senior is a great way to make a difference. For many seniors, receiving a call would be the highlight of their day. They will have the opportunity to share past holiday memories, favorite holiday stories, and feel connected.
Helping You Connect With Lonely Seniors
At KSC, we know older adults’ feelings of isolation are often worsened during holiday times. We have been helping seniors first-hand since 1975. Our services focus on the human connection that seniors often lack as they age.
If you want to help us achieve our mission of helping seniors in Kane county, you can sign up to volunteer for one of our many services. You can also donate to DSCC so that we can continue to provide services designed to improve the lives of seniors.
Helping seniors during the holidays can not only brighten up their life but can help fight off feelings of isolation and sadness while providing them with a reason to be merry during the holiday season. It also provides a great way for others to share the holiday spirit.