Loneliness is when being alone creates a feeling of sadness. Many seniors and elderly are alone for a variety of reasons. Some of those reasons may be the loss of a partner or spouse, distance from family, as well as mobility and memory issues. These all will contribute to that feeling of loneliness, especially if they are also hindered with the ability to get out and connect socially as they once did. The holidays can really bring these feelings to the surface for your family member.

Recognizing they are experiencing loneliness or are feeling lonely is not easy if there is distance between you or you don’t understand a particular behavior that has been occurring the closer it gets to the holiday. Often you only sense a problem and need help in identifying and understanding what may be going on.

If you feel that they are lonely due to the holidays approaching, here are some tips to relieve some of what they may be going through or feeling.

• Communicate. Listen to what they are saying about what they are feeling. Being able to repeat back to them what they are saying will comfort them and let them know that you are understanding them.
• Offer to assist with decorating or writing out cards. Reassuring them that they don’t have to go all out or send a card to everyone that they used to, that they can just focus on close friends and family so it is not overwhelming, will lighten the burden they may be feeling. When you help them send out the cards, they will benefit from you spending time with them and trying to help them accomplish something important to them.
• Reach out to family and friends to send greeting cards and notes. Encouraging them to send good news and uplifting wishes will benefit your loved one. They may especially enjoy notes or cards from the grandchildren of the family.
• Set up a digital connection. A Facetime or Zoom session can lift spirits quickly. Seeing the smiles and love from the family is rejuvenating and creates connection even when it is impossible to gather.
• Sending or bringing in baked goods. Nostalgic memories of mom baking fresh pies or making sugar cookies and helping the kids decorate them can bring joy to an aging grandparent. Having family send or deliver a small sample of baked goodies that reflect the season will spark memories of traditions of baking with family.
• Reach out to your church or a local church if there is no affiliation to see if carolers can visit their location. If they live in a neighborhood, you can reach out to their HOA or a neighbor who may know if caroling is planned. If an assisted living, speak with the activities director to see if there will be carolers.

These are just a few things that can help your senior get through the holidays. These simple activities can reduce loneliness and promote a feeling of inclusion whether your loved one is at home or living in a care facility. As much as you want to be there and be the one to see all this through, you may need some outside help.

Our team is happy to help you find solutions to ease loneliness for your aging loved one. As care managers we work with families to find solutions that make a difference for your senior and put your mind at ease. You may not be able to meet all your loved ones needs and that is okay. Your care manager is a professional who can interview and evaluate the needs of your loved one and you. The experience and training of the care manager goes into their recommendations, and they help accomplishing the planned goals.

Establishing this relationship helps with short term and long-term goals. As care needs change, your care manager provides guidance and assistance to maintain the quality of life possible for your loved one. They often even know of solutions that improve the quality of life.

If you are worried about the risk of loneliness for your aging loved one, please give us a call at (203) 258-2640 or email us at info@growingoptions.com to find out how we can help.