The Holidays can be a time of loneliness and isolation for Seniors. Read on for tips on making “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year” a season of much-needed connection.
The Holiday Season is tangled up in family, memories and traditions. Many Seniors experience grief during the Holidays over lost abilities and lack of closeness to family. But family and friends can improve their holiday experience by being intentional with these 3 practices.
Lift Senior’s Spirits with Visits
Fully-present relational time lifts Seniors spirits. While not always possible, make visits with your Senior relative or friend a priority. If you live nearby, establish a weekly visit time. During the holidays, add some festive cheer. Plan on doing a holiday craft together or a carol sing. Decorate your Senior friend’s apartment or room. Bring gifts and baked treats.
Remember, each time you walk in the door, your presence is a gift. You don’t have to make the visits exciting, just predictable. They know you’re busy but by regularly visiting, you can show your Senior friend or relative that they hold a significant place in your world.
Blakeford Senior Living hosts a special family dinner event during the Christmas season for our residents to enjoy (hopefully we can return to this tradition in 2021). Make this a time to exchange gifts and sing songs together. Show interest in your Senior relatives life and community, by bringing cards or baked goods for close friends or neighbors as well.
Involvement Lifts Senior’s Spirits
Involve your Senior friend or relative in as many of your holiday events as possible. Do your kids have performances? Invite or bring Seniors along. Is there a Church concert or service your family will attend? Include your Senior relative or friend.
Seniors appreciate participating in the busy everyday activities of your life. They remember being busy during this season, and can experience grief over no longer experiencing the holiday rush. If they are unable to attend events, create ways for them to still be involved. Some seniors can sew costumes or donate props for a Christmas Pageant. Seniors who have computer skills can design cards and programs for performances.
Regardless of whether they’re able to attend, Seniors can be involved in your events when you share pictures and memories. Children can write cards describing their shows and highlighting favorite parts.
You can also lift Senior’s spirits by video chatting from event locations. Have a quick chat via video while picking out the Christmas Tree or when driving along a Parade of Lights. Seniors will be encouraged by the time you take to include them in your Christmas adventures in any form.
Contributing Lifts Senior’s Spirits
Seniors have much to contribute to family and community gatherings. Consider tasks they can do to help prepare for the holidays. If your Senior friend or family member has a special skill, such as crafting, sewing or wood working, use it creating decorations or gifts. Seniors often have musical gifts or experience singing in choirs or playing instruments. They can add to Holiday sing-a-longs and caroling events.
As we gather for Christmas meals, Seniors can share memories from holidays in previous eras. They add important insight to conversations on culture and political climate. When we talk about hopes and goals for the New Year, invite Seniors to give perspective on challenges they have overcome and how obstacles shaped them.
Contributing towards common goals is vital for the mental health of people at all ages. While Seniors enjoy visits and attention, like all of us, they want to know they have needed gifts that support and resource their family and community.
Connections Lift Everyone’s Spirits
“Mankind is a great, immense family…This is proved by what we feel in our hearts at Christmas.”
Pope John XXIII.
Each of us holds roles: sister, mother, son, father, grandfather, friend, neighbor. When you recognize these roles in Seniors, you lift spirits and bring joy. Age doesn’t have to be a barrier. Viewing each other in terms of our interdependence emphasizes that each one of us is valued and necessary. This Christmas, lift the spirits of your Senior friends and family by inviting them into your lives to be involved and contribute. You need them too.