Jingle bells, eggnog, exchanging gifts, family. These are several things we all think of as the holidays approach. It’s supposed to be an exciting time full of anticipation, excitement and family. However, instead of sharing in the joy of the season, many seniors feel lonely, depressed and isolated during this time. Their lives have changed, they may have lost loved ones, and their family may not be nearby. For these and many other reasons, seniors can fall prey to the “Holiday Blues”. If you have family members, friends or neighbors who are older and alone, here are several tips to help them beat the “Holiday Blues”.
1. Acknowledge memories and make new ones. It’s only human to reflect on the past during this time of year. Listen to your senior, respect their memories and spend time with them.
2. Include them in as many aspects of the holiday season as possible. Maybe Grandma used to bake cookies, invite her over to “help” the younger generations bake and decorate; take her to church; invite her for tea.
3. Eliminate obstacles. If the holiday season has everyone gathering together, remove throw rugs to help avoid falls; move furniture to enable a walker or wheelchair passage.
The most important thing we can do to help combat the “Holiday Blues” is to make time. Make time to listen. Make time to visit. Make time to share a meal. What seniors want most, what everyone wants most, is to know they are loved and not forgotten. They want our time. Give your senior the best gift you can, that of your time.