Does the older adult you care for feel lonely during the holidays? It’s not uncommon for seniors to experience loneliness, and the holidays can trigger those feelings for a few reasons:
- They may think about people who they’ve lost.
- Their health may have changed, leading them to have less energy to celebrate.
- Some older adults feel as if they are a burden to their younger family members.
By staying aware of loneliness in the beloved senior in your life, you can help them cope better. Here are seven suggestions to help address loneliness this holiday season with the older adult you care for.
- Take time to listen. Instead of brushing off their concerns or trying to dismiss them, listen to why they say they feel lonely. Do what you can to express concern without overly focusing on the negative.
- Schedule activities in advance. Give some thought to this before the holidays if you can. Think about activities your loved one enjoys, such as going to church, seeing certain friends, traveling, or pursuing a hobby. Help schedule activities over the holidays that will keep them busy and engaged between these routine activities as well as special holiday events. This also keeps your senior loved one socializing with others, helping them to meet others and potentially ward off loneliness. Make sure to keep any pandemic restrictions in mind when planning these activities.
- Stay in touch regularly, or encourage family members to do the same. If you don’t regularly see your senior loved one in person, set up specific times each week when you will call or video chat with them. If you live with your senior loved one or see them often, you can pass on this recommendation to other family members.
- Find ways to spread the holiday cheer. For instance, can you make some easy cookie recipes together? Decorate their room, including their room at a senior care facility? Listen to Christmas songs together? Make sure that they can participate in the holiday spirit in some way.
- Ask others for help if needed. If you think your loved one needs extra support to combat loneliness this holiday season, lean on others who can lend a hand, be it a clergy member, staff person at a senior living facility, or another family member who knows your loved one well. Ask if this person can take a role in keeping your loved one engaged and trying to lift their spirits.
- Don’t forget children and animals. Interacting with the younger generation may provide just the lift your senior loved one needs. If you have children who can visit your loved one, encourage them to do so. If your senior loved one can be around animals, how about some pet therapy? Or, can someone among your friends or family bring around a lovable mutt to spend some time with your senior loved one? There are even lifelike pets nowadays that provide the thrill of owning a pet without all the cleanup.
- Watch for signs of depression. Depression is not a normal part of aging. If your best efforts to boost your loved one’s spirits aren’t working, watch out for signs of depression, which may include:
- Feeling hopeless
- Threatening to harm themselves
- Losing interest in activities they once enjoyed
- No longer eating or sleeping as they usually would
A workup by their doctor could include a screening for depression, which may require the need for further mental health care.
Call Secure Aging to Find Out How We Can Help Seniors With Care Management
At Secure Aging in Bradenton, we transform the weight of the world into a sigh of relief for our senior clients and their concerned family members. The mission of Secure Aging is to protect and preserve our client’s independence and dignity through careful and thoughtful financial and care management. As our clients age, it is their desire to remain independent and age with dignity. Our services protect our clients from talented con artists looking to exploit and deplete the financial resources of our vulnerable seniors. Secure Aging helps families in Manatee County and Sarasota County and in and around the communities of Anna Maria, Bradenton, Bradenton Beach, Ellenton, Holmes Beach, Lakewood Ranch, Longboat Key, Myakka City, Palmetto, Parrish, and Sarasota. Call us at 941-761-9338, or visit us online at www.secureaging.com.