The holidays aren’t always a time of cheer for everyone. It can be an especially isolating time of year for older adults when their friends and family are spending the holidays with others. If you have a senior in your life who may be experiencing loneliness during the holiday season, understand that there are ways you can help.
3 Reasons Holidays Can Be Hard for Seniors
To help an older adult who is vulnerable to feelings of loneliness this time of year, you first have to understand where those feelings are coming from.
1. Long-Distance Loved Ones
Every parent understands that their children will leave home some day and the holidays are usually an opportunity for everyone to get back together under the same roof. Distance can complicate this, especially when trying to coordinate the schedules of multiple family members. But even if an older adult has no children, it can be their friends and other family members who aren’t around for the holidays. Spending the holidays alone can allow feelings of loneliness, anxiety and depression to take root.
2. Travel Limitations
The logistics of traveling for the holidays can be challenging. Older adults who are retired and on a fixed income may be wary of the expenses associated with traveling. The weather may also be a factor in whether seniors are able to gather with their families for the holidays. Winter weather in the Midwest, with snow and ice, can make even just driving around town hazardous.
3. Changing Traditions
There are those who cling to holiday traditions like a warm blanket and then there are others who embrace the opportunity to create new ones. As traditions change over the years, it can feel like a loss to older adults. Look for opportunities to embrace old traditions or help the older adult in your life create new ones.
Tips for Helping Seniors Deal with Holiday Loneliness
So what can you do to help if you fear that an older adult in your life is suffering from feelings of sadness and loneliness around the holidays? Here are a handful of tips to get you started:
Take the Initiative
We’ve all sent out holiday cards and we’ve all made our annual phone calls to friends and family wishing them a happy holiday. But this year, consider doing more, especially if there is an older adult in your life who may be struggling. The best case scenario is to spend time with them in person, but if you’re not able to do that, arrange a video call. Check in regularly so they know you genuinely care about them, and try to make your interactions as meaningful as possible.
Embrace Holiday Traditions
Do you have a favorite holiday tradition? It’s likely that the seniors in your life have a favorite tradition of their own. If perhaps you’ve let that tradition fade into the past, bring it back. Work together to rekindle those magical holiday moments. It doesn’t have to be elaborate, either. Some of the best traditions are the simplest ones, like decorating the tree or watching a holiday movie together.
More Inclusive Celebrations
Spreading cheer is an essential part of the holiday season, so be sure you are doing your part to spread cheer to the older adults in your life. Think of how you might be able to make a difference in these savvy seniors’ lives by including them in your activities. Be intentional about finding ways to make them feel included and engaged like turning the music down so it’s easier to hear or choosing an earlier start time for your festivities. It’s easy to feel alone, even in a crowd.
Help Embrace Change
The holidays are about traditions, both old and new. Take a moment to reflect on old traditions, honor the past and the memories made. If you’re going to start new holiday traditions, engage the older adults in your life and look for opportunities to incorporate their passions and interests.
How a Community like Querencia Helps Seniors Fight Loneliness
Querencia at Barton Creek is a community built on connections. We believe that meaningful connections are the key to living a more fulfilling life, so our independent living community creates opportunities for residents to rekindle old friendships and forge new ones. Querencia at Barton Creek is also home to team members who work who work tirelessly to provide for all the wants and needs of our residents, freeing them up to spend their days engaging with the variety of services and amenities in our community that make for a more enriching lifestyle.
If our unique community, Querencia at Barton Creek, sounds like a place that could help someone you know who is struggling with loneliness, please don’t hesitate to reach out. We’re available and ready to answer any questions you have. Contact us today to discover for yourself what makes Querencia at Barton Creek so special.