Although celebrating the holidays should be a joyous time for everyone, that isn’t always the case for many older adults. According to a 2018 survey from the AARP, nearly a quarter of Americans 70 and over feel lonely and depressed. For many seniors, loneliness is worse during the holiday season. AARP’s survey further revealed that seniors who stay socially engaged all year long enjoy better physical, mental, and emotional health than those who don’t. If your aging loved one suffers from senior loneliness and depression around the holidays, here’s how to remind them just how much they are loved.
Get Them Out of the House
If your senior is choosing to be homebound, schedule a time to get them out of the house to join you for one of these fun holiday activities:
- Gift shopping
- Holiday concert or play
- Your child’s school holiday program
- Faith-based service
- Festive community social event
Involve Them in Holiday Traditions
Sharing family traditions and other holiday festivities is a heartwarming way to improve a senior’s sense of belonging and show them just how much they are loved and appreciated. For those with dementia or Alzheimer’s, participating in holiday traditions could trigger heartwarming memories from their past.
Prepare a comfortable place for Mom or Dad before they arrive, and then watch their face light up while joining the family later for traditions like:
- Decorating the holiday tree
- Playing board games
- Watching old Christmas movies
- Baking cookies and pies
- Caroling in the neighborhood
Share Their Life Experiences
Older family members are a wealth of life knowledge. The holidays are the perfect time to ask them to share their stories and record them for future viewing. Pull out those old photo albums that are collecting dust in your attic, and then listen patiently as the memories flow. Your kids might even be amazed at some of the holiday experiences their grandparents have to share.
Mail Old-Fashioned Holiday Cards
Even though we live in a digital age, many people still enjoy receiving old-fashioned holiday cards in their mailboxes. Because of health limitations due to vision loss or arthritis, your loved one may not be able to send holiday cards like they used to.
Sit down with them, compile a list of recipients they’d like to mail cards to, and then help them address the envelopes and write messages inside. Once the cards are ready, offer to drop them off at the post office to save them the trouble.
Connect Them with Community Activities
Many seniors get lonely and depressed because they feel like they’re not needed anymore. On the other hand, boosting an older person’s sense of purpose is a great way to cast aside negative feelings like loneliness and depression.
Encourage your loved one to serve others in the community during the holiday season by participating in activities like:
- Delivering cookies that you’ve baked together to shut-ins
- Helping with a local food drive
- Visiting old friends who are in nursing homes
- Teaching a knitting, quilting, or woodworking class
- Volunteering at the hospital or cancer center
Find Them a Temporary Companion
When your holiday schedule is too hectic, or you live far away, another option you have is hiring your senior a companion caregiver from a reputable home care agency. Even if it’s just temporary, finding someone attentive, compassionate, and trustworthy to spend quality time with your loved one during the holidays will help keep them happy and healthy all season long!
We Can Help Your Senior Loved One With Loneliness During the Holidays
Helping a senior loved one overcome loneliness and depression any time of year can be challenging, but perhaps especially during the holidays. At New Wave Home Care, we’ve been helping families in Southern California keep aging loved ones safe and comfortable in their own homes for 10+ years now. As a licensed home care provider, we support clients and their families with personalized in-home solutions that include companionship care, personal care, transitional care, respite care, dementia and Alzheimer’s care, and hospice support.
When you choose New Wave Home Care in Pasadena, you can rest assured that your loved one is getting the specialized care they need from a trusted, friendly caregiver. To learn more now or schedule a FREE in-home assessment for a senior in the greater Pasadena area, please visit us at www.newwavehomecare.com.