How to prevent loneliness in seniors during the holiday season

by | Oct 12, 2022

 

How to prevent loneliness in seniors during the holiday season

How to prevent loneliness in seniors during the holiday season

Holidays can be both a joyful and sensitive time of the year. People in your life with mental health concerns and physical limitations due to their advanced age may feel particularly vulnerable during the holiday season. Their limitation with mobility or a recent spell of poor mental health days could be reason enough for them to want to skip family functions. Missing out on important family time can make matters worse, leading to loneliness during an important time of the year for spending time with loved ones.

A large part of the United States population over the age of 65 live by themselves. For family members, it can be easy to get busy and disconnect from those who matter most, to the detriment of their mental and physical health. Loneliness has a way of sneaking in and disturbing all aspects of life. The effects of being isolated, for example, are just as harmful to a person’s mortality as smoking 15 cigarettes a day. Many elderly individuals diagnosed with anxiety or depression also have experienced the feeling of being lonely.

As the holidays approach, here are some common ways to help prevent loneliness among seniors in the name of mental well-being, friendship and family.

Communication plans

There’s never a bad time to pick up the phone and check in on your aging parents or loved ones. Day to day, older adults face living conditions that can be even more difficult due to chronic illness and limited mobility. During the holiday season, communication takes on even greater importance, so you’ll want to be available and proactive about reaching out. As you make plans for family gatherings and special events, keep in close contact with your older loved one to give them plenty of time to prepare for the special days of the season. Your open line of communication is good for their health, can help prevent a medical emergency and gives them something to look forward to.

When things slow down after the holidays, make a point to continue to keep in contact. Setting aside just 30 minutes each week is ideal. This can be a time for small talk and conversations about how they’re feeling from a physical and mental health standpoint. You can also ask for advice and to hear stories if they are willing to share. This constant quality time will help keep your loved one feeling supported, which is great for their mental health.

Help them find other holiday activities

Your family’s company is integral to the well-being of members of all ages. But your aging loved one should also thrive in social activities in their circles. You can help facilitate other holiday social opportunities through various organizations, such as places of worship, community centers, non-profits and online social groups found on neighborhood-based apps. Through these, your loved one can build a network of like-minded individuals to socialize with during the holidays and beyond.

Join in on the fun and offer to tag along to holiday events outside of family gatherings every so often. Being at their side can put them at ease so they can focus on having fun, familiarizing themselves with their surroundings and meeting new people.

Development strategies for interaction at home

Sometimes, staying home is the best course of action during the holidays. Being at home doesn’t have to mean unplugging entirely though. With the help of outside organizations, your loved one can have some extra support and even make new friends. For example, some organizations help facilitate friendships for the elderly. If this is something you think they would be interested in, do a little research and find a company that might be a good fit.

These additional resources mean your loved one will always have access to a friendly voice and sounding board for much-needed conversations during the holiday season. Outreach services can even be part of your loved one’s routine. It can be a healthy way for them to quickly bounce back from any feelings of loneliness that arise after spending too much time at home.

Promote hobbies and exploration beyond the New Year

When the sun sets on the holiday season, engage and encourage your aging loved one to keep up with their activity level all year round. Learn about their favorite past-times and interests and see what you can do to maintain their participation. As a bonus, their hobbies can produce great gift ideas for birthdays and other special occasions.

Assuming your loved one is less active than before, try to unearth their passion for a previous hobby. With your help, they can reengage and rediscover a sense of adventure and look forward to independent and group interaction.

At Cherished Companions, our caregivers make social engagement a priority and are always watching out for our residents. For further questions, to request resources or to inquire about having your loved one utilize our services, contact Cherished Companions today on our website or call (440) 484-5390.

For further questions, to request resources, or to inquire about having your loved one utilize our services, contact Cherished Companions today on our website or call (440) 484-5390.

 

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