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Preventing Senior Loneliness During the Holidays

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Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, holidays will be very different this year. “Social Isolation” a word that is commonly used these days is equivalent to loneliness, especially for the elderly. Whether your senior loved one is at home or in a nursing care facility, there are chances they will feel the holiday blues during this season. The elderly are at a higher risk of feeling lonely and depressed during this time of the year because they are getting outside less, not able to walk outdoors, and maybe their family members are out of town.

How can family members prevent senior isolation during the holidays? Here are a few ideas:

Empathize with them

The pandemic has brought an urgent need for increased empathy. The restrictions brought by COVID-19 make it difficult for many people to enjoy the holidays and help others no matter how much they want to. What we can do is to find ways to make life less lonely for our seniors who are experiencing loneliness and depression during this time. Listening attentively is something we can give as a gift. If seniors are bound by restrictions, family members can provide a listening ear and understand their feelings. They may want to share their losses, memories, concerns, or may need help.

This holiday season we can use technology to facilitate conversation and get together with our loved ones virtually. These are some of the video conferencing platforms that can be utilized to stay in touch:

  • Zoom
  • FaceTime
  • Skype
  • HangOut
  • Facebook

Using virtual conversation, family members can share family photos, watch movies together, or listen to their favorite music.

Help them decorate

Is your senior loved one at home? Using all the safety measures such as wearing masks and gloves, help your elderly parents or grandparents decorate the house. They may have a great stock of holiday decorations that can be utilized. Encourage conversation and participation by talking about the décor, their preferences, and design ideas. Giving them lightweight tasks will not only keep them active but will also help them feel energetic and inspired. Ask them for ideas during the decoration process and help them achieve what they envisioned.

Send holiday cards together

Are you a caregiver for a senior who is very creative? Having a creative outlet leads to a healthy state of mind. If your senior loved ones are at home, arrange to spend some time to make greeting cards. Set the mood with some festive holiday music, prepare a warm mug of hot chocolate, and reminisce together. Making hand made greetings cards are the perfect holiday activity. Help them write and address cards to friends and family members. If your senior parents or grandparent do not feel comfortable writing anymore, you can also help them write notes. Spending quality time together doing this activity will help them stay connected with other family and friends, which becomes more challenging with age.

Rearrange their surroundings

Do you think your parents could use some help reorganizing the house? If you have ideas on how to make their surroundings safer, share with them, and help them organize. Maybe there are some items they need regularly and they must bend unnecessarily to get them? You can clear the clutter from steps and add lights to dark areas like near stairways. Other helpful items include a rolling cart which can be moved around without having to carry it. Redecorating or reorganizing your senior parent’s or grandparent’s surrounding for the winter season could help them feel loved. Perhaps you could add warmth and light to the dark and cold months by keeping more lights on or having their favorite chair face the window.

Explore hobbies or other interests

If you know your senior loved ones well maybe you already know what hobbies they enjoy. If not, figure out what the older adult in your life likes to do to relax. This could also be the perfect gift idea. If they do not have a specific hobby, make suggestions, and explore new ideas and activities. If they are willing to try out new hobbies, you could search for some online tutorials they can watch and enjoy. Is your senior loved one passionate about a certain hobby? Encourage them to impart their knowledge to others. This will help them feel motivated, inspired, and encouraged.

Are there other ideas that you would like to share with us? Leave a comment and let us know!

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The Giving Care Team is a group of senior and adaptive clothing professionals dedicated to helping the elderly maintain a comfortable and dignified lifestyle with tips and secrets on how to get the most out of life when disability and age fight to stop us at every opportunity. The Giving Care Blog is a resource for seniors, their families and caregivers.

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