Helping Senior Loved Ones Deal with Holiday Loneliness
The holidays are a time for family and friends to be together to celebrate and enjoy each other’s company.
For many seniors, the holiday season is a time of reflection and can be full of mixed emotions as they reminisce about the celebrations they were part of and those they have lost.
Whether a Senior lives independently in their own home or among others in an assisted living facility, they can be conflicted with feelings of loneliness, especially during the holiday season.
To assist your Senior loved ones in remaining strong, lively and engaged, and to avoid isolation and loneliness all year long, consider using the C-H-E-E-R plan:
- Check on your loved ones frequently – not by just a phone call, but actually visit your loved one in their home. If they live independently and alone in their home, look to see if they an inventory of nutritious food on hand, that their medications are being taken and are up to date, and that they are doing their ADLs (Activities of Daily Living: eating, bathing, dressing, grooming, toileting and mobility). Also, look out for safety issues by checking on hazards and barriers that could create a fall. If your senior loved one truly needs assistance, you are more likely to take note by time well spent at their home.
- Help your senior loved ones stay engaged – as those that live independently and alone in their own home tend to experience depression. Invite them to your own family functions. Festivities at churches, civic associations and senior citizen centers assist them in activities and conversations with other people. This is the time to listen to them and their acceptances and denials of wanting to attend functions. Assist them with transportation if needed and you can properly provide it. If your senior loved one lives in an assisted living facility, join in on their holiday activities, offer to assist in decorating their room or apartment with holiday flare… and without forgetting… bring their grandchildren and great-grandchildren on a visit. If you are giving gifts to your senior loved one, nothing is sweeter than a hand written note and photo album filled with memories captured from the past, present, and pages left blank to be filled in for the future.
- Empower them to continue to live independently – where you assist your senior loved one to live, function and prosper safely on their own. There are many devices and services that can be set up for your senior loved one such as a medical alarms, mobility devices and food delivery services that will assist them remaining independent, staying healthy and living safely. And it’s at this time you might have a discussion with regards to the future, where moving to an assisted living facility is a viable option.
- Enjoy your precious time together – encourage group activities and functions that all of you can participate in, whether it be small or large… remember it is ‘the present’ that you are making new memories for the future.
- Reminisce with your loved ones – break out old photo albums, family videos or other family memorabilia and keepsakes that bring the past back to the present. Listen to your senior loved ones reminisce about those loved that that were lost and engage them to speak of those memories with you.