During the holidays, seniors often feel alone and isolated. Many get depressed during the holidays, and such feelings can be more pronounced due to losing friends and other older relatives due to the passage of time. If you think your older loved ones are feeling depressed this holiday season, here are a few ways you can help.
Remind Them That They Matter
Many seniors feel forgotten during the holiday season and may feel they no longer matter or have any importance to their family. Assure a senior family member that they do matter by making them a part of holiday activities.
Part of reducing loneliness is the willingness to listen. Not all conversations or topics will be positive ones. Allow your senior family members to discuss the things that are distressing them. Simply listening and being empathetic can allow them to address these issues and feel better about their life and its current state of affairs.
Send A Card
While traditional mail is not as widely used as it once was, holiday cards are an important part of many family holiday traditions. Sadly, as people age, many cards contain depressing news and the number of cards received go down for various reasons. By sending more upbeat and positive cards, you can improve the overall mood of their mail and help keep a tradition ongoing.
Focus On Togetherness
Your holiday plans don’t need to be overly extravagant or focused on large parties, shopping, or large dinners to have an impact. For many seniors, they can’t participate in holiday events like they once did. By focusing on togetherness and the emotional importance of the season, you make them a part of it while staying focused on what really matters.
If your senior loved ones live in a long-term care facility, make it a point to get involved during the holidays. Involve yourself in any planned activities the facility may have and bring younger family members to visit. Seeing younger members of the family is often a very uplifting experience for older relatives.
During the holidays, reach out to your loved one’s friends and arrange a special gathering. This doesn’t have to be an extravagant or expensive event. Even a simple get together is very valuable as it renews old friendships. Be sure to keep any special healthcare or aging-related needs in mind to make sure the event goes smoothly.
Another aspect not to overlook is their spiritual well-being. Check with your loved one’s preferred local religious institution as most offer support for those who are depressed or lonely during the holidays. Most are also willing to visit seniors in care facilities if such a visit is required.
Help your older relatives decorate their homes for the holidays. Whether it’s their personal home or room at a care facility, bringing out prized decorations and the simple joy of decorating can brighten up the holidays.
Caring Is The Most Important Thing
The most important thing you can do to reduce seniors loneliness during the holidays is simply caring. It doesn’t matter what the activity is, just by simply being there and including them in holiday events, you’ve made their holiday better.
When reaching out to your older loved ones, remember the effort itself is the most important part. Taking time out of your busy holiday schedule to involve older members of your family in holiday events is what truly matters, not the size of the event itself.