Every holiday season, families gather together to celebrate. While many families have the luxury of being able to enjoy each other’s company, the holiday season can also be a lonely time of year for many seniors. There are several reasons seniors experience loneliness around the holidays. In this article we’ll explore why older adults often feel this way during the holidays, and what you can do to help anyone in your life who may be struggling.
Understanding the Impact of Loneliness on Older Adults
According to a survey conducted by the AARP, 31% of respondents reported feeling lonely around the holidays. Along with the obvious emotional impact of loneliness, research has shown that loneliness can have a negative impact on our physical health and liken the impact of loneliness to smoking 15 cigarettes per day. It’s also worth noting that feelings of loneliness are more likely to appear in seniors who already suffer from anxiety, depression and other mood disorders.
With all that in mind, and with nearly 30% of the senior population living alone, it’s more important than ever to pay attention to your loved one’s potential for loneliness and take steps to address these feelings before it damages their health.
4 Tips for Helping Seniors Overcome Holiday Loneliness
There are a number of ways to help reduce the loneliness older adults feel during the holiday season. Below, we’ll go through four ways to help the seniors in your life manage their loneliness and rediscover the joy of the holiday season.
The holidays are about reaching out and reconnecting, especially with the seniors in your life. If you can’t visit in person, you can always video chat them using Skype, Zoom or FaceTime. Most importantly, remember to actively listen during your conversations, especially if the discussion turns negative. Having an honest and empathetic dialogue will help you learn more about why they may be feeling down and even inspire ways for you to lift their spirits.
Schedule Regular Activities
You’d be surprised what a simple change of scenery can do for seniors feeling isolated. Go shopping, enjoy dinner out or even take a drive to look at holiday lights. You should also encourage other friends and family members to reach out and get something on the calendar.
Create Cross-Generational Connections
We often act as if there are dividing lines between generations, but the holidays are the perfect opportunity to erase those imaginary boundaries and bring people together across generations. Seniors have much to the teach younger generation about life, and children can be an endless source of joy and affection for their elders. After all, there is a reason grandparents love doting on their grandchildren.
Adapt Your Traditions
No one wants to feel left out around the holidays, so try to be as inclusive as possible when planning your festivities. Keep in mind that some activities may may be too strenuous for older adults. Make your best efforts to plan activities that everyone can take part in. It’s more important to focus on the people involved rather than the grandeur of the celebration.
How Abbey Delray Helps Reduce Loneliness Among Residents During the Holidays
It can be easy to get swept up in the gift-giving, delicious food and drinks, and the company of the holidays, and miss that the senior in your life is struggling with loneliness and depression.
At Abbey Delray, our independent living community thrives because of those who call our community home. Our residents come from different walks of life, but each of them is passionate about celebrating life together. They engage with and support each other to create a truly active community where everyone is empowered. Our staff also does their part to ensure residents have all the support they need.
If this sounds like a community where you or a loved one could thrive, please don’t hesitate to contact us. Our dedicated team is ready to answer any questions you have and show you what makes Abbey Delray so special.