The holidays are often a time of joy, but they can also be a sad or stressful time, especially for senior citizens. From feelings of loneliness to empty cupboards, many seniors struggle during the holidays. Here’s how you can combat those struggles or help to bring joy to your favorite senior this holiday season.
Hunger During the Holidays
Seniors who live on their own may subsist on simple fare like canned soups or other packaged food during the year, or they may need help from a caregiver or family member to prepare daily meals. If you’re a senior living on your own, or if your aging family member could use a hand with meals, consider contacting your local Area Agency on Aging, church or senior center about resources in the community, such as Meals on Wheels, Meal Call, or Mom’s Meals. You can also help your aging loved one by making a little extra when you cook and delivering it, taking some time to chat or help out with little household tasks he might need done.
The Holiday Blues
For many aging adults, the holidays are tinged with sadness or loneliness, and many have health problems that are difficult to cope with. Getting out and staying active and engaged with others during the season can help. Encourage your loved one to get involved with a favorite organization, or invite her to some special events like a church concert or community center holiday program. Offer to help your loved one put up a tree or hang lights to make the holidays a little more festive. A visit–even a short one–can brighten a senior’s day during the holiday season.
Staying Healthy During the Season
Staying active during the holidays can help combat feelings of isolation or loneliness. Exercise releases natural feel-good chemicals in the brain and increases energy and feelings of wellbeing. If you’re a senior, stay with your exercise routine during the season, or give yourself the gift of staring an exercise program to improve your mood and your overall health and wellbeing. If your aging loved one lives alone and doesn’t get enough exercise, consider the gift of a personal trainer this year to get him moving again.
Making time during the hustle and bustle of the season to make sure your favorite senior is eating well, getting out of the house, and enjoying some of the trappings of the holidays can make a big difference in her life and bring more meaning to the season.