Often during the holidays, there is such an abundance of busyness getting things done and a general atmosphere of high spirits and joy ( and some exhaustion ) seniors may be overlooked. When the holidays are officially over, it is a time to remember those who may not have been fully engaged in the excitement and togetherness that has been experienced.
Often someone who is living alone, a senior, or has other reasons for not being fully engaged may feel lonely or isolated. My experience has always been to reach out to those I know and care about and check in on them. The greatest gift we can give is of our time, experience, care, concern and love.
My elderly Aunt lived a great distance from us and my routine with her covered several categories that we were both comfortable with. The first being communication and I called her once a week. She was isolated and I found I could expand her world by bringing her up to date with the news and goods of the family and topics that were of interest to her. I would send her Sudoku and crossword puzzle books and keep a copy for myself. We would work on a couple of puzzles together via the phone and that would activate her interest and she then would carry on with the rest of the books. I also sent her children’s books so that she could read to my children. I kept a copy of the book for them so that as she read they could follow her and make comments about the pictures. Or she could help them with their reading of the same book giving her a sense of helping the children.
I also made sure that her religious community was kept abreast of her needs and often these good people would either call or visit. I also asked other members of my family to keep my Aunt in their focus and, when they had time, to reach out to her with calls or send cards.
I also had my Aunt enrolled in the local senior center that had a bus service so that she could be escorted to and from the center as well as have a hot meal and a sense of recreation, community or comradery with her friends.
The time and effort on my Aunt’s behalf always made me feel good. It kept my children involved with her life and we all felt connected to this dear one.
There are many resources available for the internet savvy senior and there are many organizations that provide support through discussion groups. With effort knowing your seniors needs there is an abundance of helping organizations for them. The best antidote to loneliness for anyone is to spend quality time with those you care about.