6 Tips to Prevent Holiday Loneliness

Holidays can be an exciting time, but for many in our community, they can also be a time where feelings of sadness, loneliness, and isolation can become overwhelming.

For many elderly in our community, this year may be particularly tough as COVID-19 restrictions mean families will not be able to come together at Christmas like they usually do.

If you’re trying to work out how to make your Christmas as welcoming as possible for your elderly loved ones, neighbours or local community members, we’ve put together a few ideas below.

1.     Offer to help them

It sounds simple, but offering to help with Christmas preparations may be very welcome. Some elderly people may find it overwhelming to prepare Christmas gifts and cards to send off for loved ones. They may feel anxious about purchasing the right things or standing in the long queues at the post office. Offering to come around and help them over a cup of tea and a chat might make all the difference.

2.     Invite them to your celebrations

When planning your Christmas celebrations, consider inviting elderly community members and neighbours in for a Christmas drink, or for a festive meal. This can go a long way in defeating those feelings of isolation and loneliness.

3.     Listen to them

For many of us, holidays can bring up complicated feelings. Loss, anger, hurt and other unpleasant emotions can rise to the surface as we navigate family gatherings and community catch-ups. This can be particularly true for elderly people, who may find it a hard time of year emotionally. Listen attentively if they choose to open up to you about how they’re feeling and whether this is positive or negative. Whatever our age, most of us just want to know that we’re being listened to and that our feelings, whatever they are, are valid.

4.     Simplify your holiday plans

Another great way to make the elderly in your life feel more included is to make your festivities more accessible to them. Gift-giving can be a source of anxiety for some elderly due to the cost and perceived pressure to buy things family members will appreciate. Make it clear that gift-giving is not expected and all that you really want is some time with them. Perhaps consider organising a Secret Santa so that everyone need only buy one small gift.

5.     Help them to stay connected with those around them

For many elderly people, rapid changes in technology have made it hard for them to keep up. This may be particularly true in 2020, as people have accepted new tools like Zoom as a normal way to catch up with family and friends they can’t be with in person.

Consider offering to help the elderly in your life to set up technology to make it easier to use, or to get them online for a scheduled catch-up with family and friends they can’t be with in person.

IF your elderly loved ones live in residential care, consider checking in with their facility to see what events are planned and organising other catch-ups to fill in any blank spots in the calendar.

6.     Visiting and checking in on them regularly

It sounds obvious, but simply taking the time to stop in and see the elderly in your life is very important. For many elderly people, visits from friends and family are the highlight of their week.

Making time to visit regularly for a catch up over a cup of tea is a great reminder to your elderly loved ones that they are still valued.

If you would like more information on how to care for your elderly loved ones this Christmas, contact us.

Disclaimer

All information is general in nature. Consider your own personal circumstances.

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