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Preventing Senior Loneliness During the Holidays
As an adult, the holidays can be a busy time. You have food to prepare and presents to shop for and probably kids to watch out for. So, it can be easy to forget about your parents and how they’re feeling as these happy times are approaching. But while the holidays may mean happiness to you, that’s not always the case for people who are getting older.
They have been losing friends and family you never really knew to illness. As their neighbourhood begins to shrink, it can be hard to muster up happiness knowing that so many people are gone. For that reason, it is important that, as their child, you do what you can to make your parent feel better and less lonely come the holiday season.
What You Can Do
- One of the best things you can do for your elder is to listen. They may feel like they need to talk about the people that they’ve lost or the way that they are feeling come the holidays. Sitting there and listening to them is a good way to show them that they are not alone and that you care. However, if they don’t want to talk about why they may not be as happy, don’t push them.
- Include them. Make sure that you have a family celebration even if it’s a small one. They need to know that they are an important part of your holidays and your happiness. Spending time with their family on some of the happiest days of the year is essential to making them feel less lonely.
- Show them it’s the people that you care about. Make sure they know it is not the decorations and parties that you care most about during the holidays. It is the people around you. For them, the holidays have always been about their friends and family, and as they start to lose them, it is important that they know you share the importance of the people that are still here.
- Bring food. Bring your elder some good food if they are living in a nursing home. Sitting around with them and a few of their friends while eating some homemade meals and snacks is a great way to bond and make everyone feel like they are still loved and cherished. Maybe bring family recipes or traditional goodies that have always been a part of their holiday celebrations.
- See what you can do to organise events for them in a nursing home. Maybe you can set up a small party for them or a nice dinner. Spend a night celebrating with them surrounded by good food and holiday decorations that make them feel like they really can celebrate. But on top of celebrations in the nursing home, kids are always an important part of the holidays. See if the nursing home can organise a group of kids to come in and perform or do crafts.
- Decorate. While decorations are not the most important part of the holidays, they are important in making something seem festive. Decorations can do something as simple as brightening their spirits a bit when they see them. It can also make them feel loved because you put in the time to do this for them.
- Take the time. The best thing you can do to make your elder feel special and loved is spend time with them. Talk to them, celebrate with them, eat with them, decorate with them, it’s all essential in making their holidays a bit better and a bit less lonely.
This article was originally published on The Senior Care Network on 4/12/17.