The holidays are right around the corner, have you thought about how to include your loved ones in your plans? When family members require extra care including them in your holiday plans can be tough. What we may not think about are the emotions our family members are feeling during the holidays. It is important to check up with your family and make sure they are getting the personalized care they need.
Emotions Seniors are Feeling
A call or visit to a grandparent/parent can mean the world to them. Most older adults don’t have much to do during the day and can often get feelings of loneliness. We live in a time where smartphones and social media have taken over. Because we are so in tune with keeping our followers up to date with our lives on social media, we tend to forget to keep our older family members in the loop. Seniors crave personal interaction, especially when they are living on their own.
Loneliness and Depression
A big obstacle seniors run into is the shrinking of their social circle. Due to age, many friends can pass away or become sick. Problems such as loss of hearing and going blind can make communicating difficult. At this point, many elders give up because it doesn’t seem worth the effort anymore. This can lead to feelings of loneliness and depression and also the feeling of being socially isolated.
Feelings of loneliness and depression can take a toll on your mental health as well as your physical health. Seniors who are 60 years and older who claim feelings of loneliness saw a 45 percent increase in the risk of death. Seniors who reported feeling socially isolated saw a 59 percent increase in the risk of mental and physical health decline. Older adults who feel lonely tend to act out and behave in ways that make people not want to be around them.
Relieving Loneliness during the Holidays
There is a ton of pressure to feel happy during the holidays. Well, the holidays are supposed to be the happiest time of the year right? For older adults, this may not be the case. Families can often forget to include their older family members in holiday activities and even conversations. During the holidays it is easier for older adults to feel socially isolated because it is harder for them to interact and be involved in the festivities.
Tips for Relieving Loneliness
- Actively Listen: genuinely listening to their conversation, even if it is negative, can make them feel important and loved.
- Remind them of their significance: older adults may feel useless or like they are a burden. Especially during the holidays, be sure to remind them of how loved they are and the important role they play in your life.
- Help them realize the real meaning of the holiday: helping them realize that the true meaning of the holidays is to spend time with loved ones. Reassure them by explaining the food and parties don’t mean as much as they do.
- If they are in a daycare/assisted living, check in: If your loved one is under care, check in with the facility to see if they are getting the personalized care they need.
- Help add decorations: helping them add decorations to their home or living facility can make them feel happy and get them into the holiday spirit.
- Cooking: cooking home-cooked meals with your loved ones can bring them a sense of family and togetherness.
- Call their friends: Often times older adults don’t call their friends because they don’t want to be a burden. Call their friends and set up social meetings to get them up and out.
- Make them feel loved: the most important thing you can do during the holidays is to make your family members feel loved. Remind them they are not a burden and that you enjoy their company. The holidays are meant to share with friends and family, remind everyone how much they truly mean to you.
The most important gift you can give anyone is letting them know how much you care about them. We all lead busy lives and at times we can get caught up, we can forget about the little things. The little things have a special place in seniors’ hearts. They love personal interaction, they love feeling like they still matter. Making sure your loved ones feel special during the holidays can make all the difference.
Nevada Adult Day Healthcare Centers
At Nevada Adult Day Healthcare Centers we know how crucial social interaction for seniors can be. We strive to build lasting relationships with all our clients. During the holidays we host parties so no one has to be alone. Check out our senior programs and the services we offer. We’re certain we if they are right for your loved one.