Our golden generation has experienced unprecedented social isolation due to the pandemic. With the holidays over and winter settling in, it’s important for families to help seniors stay connected socially, whether they live independently at home or in a facility.

For example, my client Bob, 87 years old, lives in a senior housing complex that has a busy social calendar posted every month. Shopping trips, outings to museums, wine tastings, and in-house music, art, yoga and other fitness classes are offered to residents, and a social director keeps tabs on how seniors are doing. There are frequent get-togethers in the community room for card games and Bingo. Bob even started a chess club when he got bored with playing cards.
“If the weather’s bad and I can’t drive anywhere, I usually find something to do,” Bob said. “I have some friends here and I check in with them if I notice that they haven’t been around very much. It’s tough on some when the holidays are over, and they don’t see their families again for a while.”

For many seniors who look forward to the winter holidays, the aftermath in January is a let-down and this is especially true for those who live alone. But even short meet ups and consistent check-ins throughout the year from family and friends can help seniors feel socially connected and stave off loneliness.

My client Kathy, 80 years old, lives alone and her only daughter, Cindy, is a single parent. “I don’t see Cindy much after the holidays,” Kathy told me. “I’d love for my granddaughter to come over more often so we can visit. I can even watch her sometimes so my daughter can have some time to herself. But I think she thinks it would be a burden on me, when it really wouldn’t be.”

As it happened, Kathy was right; Cindy did have the mistaken belief that asking her mother to babysit her 8-year-old would be too much. I helped facilitate the conversation, and both sides are happier now.

“I get to see my granddaughter more often, and help out my daughter at the same time,” Kathy said.

If you or someone in your family are facing aging challenges, please give us a call at (203) 258-2640 or email us at info@growingoptions.com. We’ll be happy to assist!