Loneliness is often experienced by seniors during the holiday season. There are ways to brighten the season for lonely and depressed seniors.
The holiday season can exacerbate seniors’ feeling of loneliness. This can cause health problems and affect their quality of life.
Persistent loneliness can have the same health impact as smoking 15 cigarettes a day. Since loneliness can exacerbate health issues and increase the risk of mortality, it is especially important to combat isolation and feelings of loneliness during the holidays.
Many seniors do not recognize their loneliness or the health problems that feeling lonely can cause. As a result, few will voice their need for additional support. Look for these signs of loneliness among seniors:
• Under or oversleeping
• Withdrawal from existing relationships
• Combativeness or moodiness
• Lack of appetite
• Anxiety over change or visitors leaving
• Lack of interest in normal passions
• Decreased attention to self-car
During the holidays, many seniors feel particularly lonesome. Nostalgia, memories of lost loved ones, and distance from family can all contribute to the holiday blues. Add cheer to seasonal loneliness with strategies like these:
• Display holiday cards and greetings
• Set up decorations with seniors
• Help seniors make video calls to loved ones
• Plan holiday event outings
• Tune in to festive TV shows and regular radio programs
• Sign seniors up for in-house visits by carolers or other holiday volunteers
• Encourage seasonal volunteering if seniors are able
Besides holiday-specific methods for combating loneliness, there are many steps seniors can take to reduce social isolation. Seniors can:
• Get connected with local senior centers
• Attend religious or interest-based groups
• Participate in home-visit programs
• Schedule regular phone calls with loved ones
• Practice letter or card writing, even to pen pals
• Use technology to connect with distant loved ones
• Mark social events to look forward to on the calendar
• Call The Friendship Line at 1-800-971-0016 at any hour to engage in conversation.
Tender Loving Family Care’s Social Adult Day Program can help to decrease your elderly loved one’s loneliness during the holiday’s and beyond. Contact us at 585-637-0333 to learn more!