It’s a busy time of year as we are out shopping for last minute gifts, preparing our homes for guests by cooking, cleaning and decorating. But, do you ever stop to think about your elderly friends neighbors who may not have family nearby? This time of year can be especially lonely for many seniors. They have fond memories of their bustling household of Christmases past; and as their children have grown up and familiar neighbors have moved away, Christmas present can be a depressing time.
If you are looking for a way to have an even more fulfilling holiday perhaps take some time to visit an elderly neighbor or even an assisted living facility to bring some cheer. Here are some tips to bring some cheer to those who are lonely.
- Sit and listen to them. They could be mourning the loss of a loved one and need someone to share stories of good times they had with family and friends. This is how we keep memories alive. We talk about the past and the good times we’ve had. Just listening will help the health and well-being of the elderly.
- Volunteer to help them send Christmas cards. This will help them make connections with life-long friends, which will—in turn—bring the recipient holiday cheer.
- If your parent or friend is in an assisted living facility or nursing home, check with the local kindergarten or day care centers to see if they can bring children to visit the elders. The freshness of the small children’s presence can help lighten a day for an elder in physical or emotional pain.
- If your elders’ are in a facility, help the facility find programs featuring children. If possible, take the elders out to school programs, especially if they feature grandchildren.
- Check with local youth groups and youth choirs and see if they can arrange for carolers to come and sing at an assisted living facility.
- Help them decorate. Whether they live alone or at a facility, you can do this in stages so they have something to look forward to every week or two.
- Bring traditional baked goods or treats regularly for your elders and their friends to share.
- Host a small party in a nursing home. You can check with the facility and see if a small room is a available and host a Christmas or New Year’s party for your elder and their friends. Perhaps get some of your friends and children to help in this act of kindness.
- Volunteer to buy gifts for them to give to their friends family members. They may not be able to go shopping on their own which is another reminder of their lack of independence. By buying gifts and letting them help wrap them, will help lift their spirits.
- Any amount of time you can spend with them is the most important thing you can do. Pull out old photo albums or watch home videos with them for a walk down memory lane.
Perhaps taking the time to check-in and visit with an elderly neighbor will be the best medicine you can give to them and to yourself.