As Meredith Willson once famously said “It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas Everywhere you go” , Holiday season is already here. Even though things are very different for all of us this year, this doesn’t stop us from celebrating. Our ways of celebration might be different and unique this year but the spirit would be the same. The festive spirit is in the air and this is the time for festivities and merry making. However, for seniors, holidays could be especially trying times. With age, their circle gets smaller, health gets compromised and their movement gets restricted. On top of that, the holidays might bring in a reminiscing yet a sad feeling of what they used to be and what time they had. This season can be specially rough for seniors in assisted livings or living on their own.
Some of the major issues that older Seniors face during the holiday season includes :
- Remembrance of the past
Many older people have a tough time adjusting to their current life and they keep remembering about their younger days, what fun they had. Then they start missing it and get sad. Specially around the holidays these memories can be a little hurting.
- Depression & Anxiety
With limited mobility because of their age and physical issues, the holiday cheer lessens for senior as they couldn’t move around, shop and celebrate like others. This worsens the already common depression & anxiety feelings among older adults. Seniors start feeling more lonely during the holidays, the most joyous time of the year.
With all the expenses of food, gifts and celebration, holidays are expensive and takes a generous bite on the wallet. Seniors are generally on a calculated budget and these charges can nudge them of their financial limitations & tight budget.
- Missing Homely Feeling
Seniors, particularly those who do not live with their families anymore and choose to live at senior cares & independent living centres might feel a lack of homeliness and comfort during the holiday season.
Here are some of the ways which can help the seniors in staying positive this holiday season :
- Remembering the good times
Memories are one of the greatest treasure that we have in our life. And Holidays are the best time to reminisce traditions & old friends and the good times spent with them. Instead of dwelling on how things are different now and how good they were in the past, think of all the good things that happened and how you felt during those times. Go through the photo album, call up old friends and cheer up remembering the fun times you had! Remember the good and cherish them. Whenever you’re feeling blue, remember the good part of the holidays, the FOOD! Bake & watch movies and get into the spirit of the holiday season.
- Speaking out
It’s difficult to express one’s loneliness and depression but talking it out about it to someone helps the most. Depression is seniors is very real and common and these feelings becomes more common and strong during the holiday season. Elders can feel dejected, alone and not up to the celebratory mode in holiday season when they may see the people they love enjoy it among themselves. But there are also people around you who love and are there to support you so reach out to them. Seek help when you feel the need to. Talk about the feelings and loneliness to anyone from your family, friends, caretaker or a professional. On the part of the family members, they should be an active listener and should show empathy towards them. This is not the season to be lonely!
- Money Management
With a restricted Income source, managing one’s finances in old age can be daunting. With this, the feeling of have to spending a lot in holidays certainly doesn’t help. The real meaning of holiday is togetherness and celebrating the love. Have a realistic budget set for holiday expenses including the gifts and the food supplies & stick to it. Your loved ones need you & your happy feeling more than something materialistic. Be mindful about overspending and stressing yourself out on your finances.
Many seniors who are independent use the holiday season to give back to the society and help others who are less fortunate. It’s gives a chance to avoid loneliness and be in the company of good people during holidays. Since the pandemic is still going on, They can donate to the different sites who work with under-privilege and have a video call with them.
It’s the time of the year where everyone gets together and celebrate the spirit of love & togetherness. For older adults, Connecting with people they love can be of great help. It’s also on the hands of the family to include everyone in celebrations. Seniors love to feel needed and wanted. The younger lot can participate in shopping for the senior members of the family and make them feel loved and cared. Love & support from family and friends gets one through any hurdle & struggle. Exploiting the technology in staying connected with the loved ones even though when they cannot be physically present tremendously helps.
Nothing is permanent in life but as humans the only thing that we can do is take each day as a new day and give our best. We can be in good company and try to make this world a better place to live in with whatever little contribution that we can do to the society. So get out (OOPS!, No Please don’t go out, STAY INSIDE and take necessary precautions, the pandemic is still very much there) Have fun this holiday!