As Bay Area caregivers, we know that many seniors are lonely and isolated a great deal of the time – but the holidays can be especially lonely for those who’ve lost their partners, live alone, or who have family that live hundreds of miles away. Statistics reveal that more than 12 million seniors live alone, and that about a fifth of those older than 65 don’t drive. Whether you’re a friend or neighbor, family member or even a professional caregiver, how can you help seniors have a happier, more memorable Christmas and New Year’s holiday? We have a few suggestions.
If you’re a friend, neighbor or family member, you can help a senior by:
- Offering a ride to the supermarket, doctor, or anywhere they need to go
- Helping set up the Christmas tree or put up decorations
- Helping clean the house or doing household chores
- Doing a little yard work, whether it’s raking, picking up sticks/limbs or cleaning up flower beds and the landscape
- Enjoying a movie or lunch (or both) with a senior
- Visiting and sharing companionship for an hour or two
Those who are older would prefer just having someone around to visit with and talk to over a gift!
Professional caregivers can make the seniors they care for feel special, too. While you’re around your clients on a regular basis, make the holidays special by making holiday treats together (cookies, pies, candy, etc.), watching a Christmas movie on television, or making gingerbread houses. Staying busy is a great way to help keep a senior’s mind off of their loneliness, at least for a while.
A small gift to senior clients is appreciated, and doesn’t have to be anything expensive. Give a $10 gift card to a nearby store or supermarket, create a fruit basket, or even give a book or magazine subscription on topics the senior enjoys if he or she likes reading. There are lots of little things you can do that don’t cost a lot.
Families who live far away from seniors can brighten their holidays by giving them a call or video chatting via smartphone, Facebook, Skype, etc., if your aging loved one understands how to use this technology.
For families who live close by, be sure your aging loved one is a part of the holiday festivities. Go pick your senior up if you’re having Christmas dinner or a holiday celebration at a family member’s home. Be sure to make your senior loved one a part of the celebration, whether in meal preparation, opening gifts, or conversation. Seniors want to be included – and needed!
Christmas and other holidays are especially lonely, and often depressing for seniors – all the more reason to find creative ways to make them feel special, so they know they’re in your heart and mind.
At Care Indeed, we provide in-home senior care services to those in Menlo Park, Palo Alto and surrounding cities in the San Francisco Bay Area. Wishing all seniors and their families a Merry Christmas!