Senior loneliness is becoming an epidemic in the aging population. The pandemic with its lockdowns kept many older adults in Michigan housebound and away from loved ones. Even though the threat of the pandemic has passed, the threat of isolation in the aging population and depression caused by being alone continues.
With the holidays – and long, dark, cold winter days – approaching, now is the time we want to share information on how to reduce loneliness for seniors during the holidays. This advice is helpful no matter what time of year it is.
Along with the holidays comes the pressure to have a good time and embrace the holidays with joy and cheer. Because the holiday season is “supposed to be” merry and bright, it can make the idea of being alone even more fraught with tension and sadness.
Before we talk about ways to alleviate holiday loneliness, let’s talk about why older adults and seniors experience heightened levels of loneliness during the holidays.
- Many older adults have lost loved ones, friends, family and/or spouses or significant others. Holidays spent alone bring up memories of having spent past holidays surrounded by loving family members.
- Aging in place has a significant impact on happiness, especially if the neighborhood has changed and a senior’s friends and family or trusted neighbors are no longer there.
- The inability to simply get in the car and go to church or shopping means a senior citizen is more isolated and feeling helpless.
How To Reduce Loneliness For Seniors During The Holidays
Before the holidays and long, cold winter days set in, here are some tips from Baldwin House Senior Living to alleviate holiday loneliness for yourself and your aging loved ones.
- If your aging parent wants to talk, even if you’ve heard the same story multiple times or they’re in “complain” mode, let them talk. Lend a sympathetic ear.
- Show them they are important to your life. Call them. Stop by for an unexpected visit. Bring dinner and watch a movie together. Ask if they’d like to go shopping or to church and offer to drive them and go with them.
- Ask them to share their holiday memories. Spend time looking through the family photo album and let them reminisce.
- Make the holidays about togetherness, rather than gifts and large celebrations. Many seniors just want the gift of time and togetherness. Also, don’t make them feel as though they need to spend their limited funds on gifts.
- If your loved one lives in one of our Baldwin House Senior Living communities, reach out to our activities director and ask what they have planned for the holidays and how you can get your loved one involved.
- Help them decorate their apartment in our community for the holidays. Make certain none of the decorations pose a safety hazard, and spend time together decorating. Turn the decorating activity into a weekend event.
- Cook up their favorite foods and bring them to their house or apartment. Was there a traditional food or side dish that your aging loved one enjoyed? Find the family recipe and whip it up for them.
- Include them in holiday planning and preparation. Invite them to your house not only on the day of the celebration, but for a few days before. Surround them with love and family.
The older loved ones in your life likely don’t ask for too much. What they’re asking for is time spent together. That is one of the greatest gifts you can give this holiday season.
Visit a Baldwin House Senior Living community near you. Baldwin House Senior Living is built upon the strong foundation of guiding families and empowering seniors.
Baldwin House offers families peace of mind and gives active adults and seniors who call Baldwin House home the freedom to live their very best lives. Call us today to schedule a visit. We’d love to meet you or your loved one!