Older Adults and Loneliness During the Holidays

For many, the holidays are a time of togetherness, joy and a sense of peace. For others, however, the holidays can be a time of loneliness and sadness. This can be especially true for older adults.

Loneliness and the holidays

Older adults have been through more experiences than their younger counterparts and are subject to different life challenges, such as changes in mobility, independence, or health needs. Friends or loved ones may move or pass away, or just getting out to visit may become more difficult. This can change the way older adults celebrate the holidays or bring about strong emotions when the holidays are near.

It’s important to reach out to the older adults in your life on a regular basis and to find ways to remain positive and active if you’re an older adult yourself. Younger family members can play an especially important part in helping the seniors in their lives to combat loneliness during the holidays. Making contact with loved ones, either through phone calls, a Skype or FaceTime session, or an in-person visit, can make all the difference. Spending time together and partaking in a holiday festivity or tradition or sharing a meal together can also be just what’s needed; not just at the holidays, but all year-round. Additionally, helping older adults find ways to get around town more easily can make their days much more enjoyable and less of a hassle. Places like senior centers or adult day centers sometimes offer transportation and a variety of activities.

Loneliness and health

Those experiencing negative feelings around the holidays, or anytime of the year, also have an increased risk for health issues. Loneliness can contribute to mental health conditions such as anxiety and depression. It can also take a toll on your physical health. According to the National Institute on Aging, loneliness leads to a higher risk of health problems like high blood pressure, heart disease, cognitive decline, and even obesity.

Ways to combat loneliness

When you’re feeling lonely, sometimes the best thing you can do is get out of your own head or home. Take some time to explore a new interest or connect with others.

Here are some ideas to get you started:

• Visit a dog shelter and spend time with new furry friends
• Volunteer at a local organization that makes the holidays merrier for others
• Take up a new hobby such as painting or knitting
• Take a long walk (and if it’s cold outside walk indoors)
• Cozy up with a good book
• Look into companionship services and make a new friend
• Sign up for a meal service, such as Meals on Wheels, which operates in virtually every community in America to address senior hunger and isolation
• Join your local senior center or consider a move to a senior living community

Living at Friendship Village Columbus

At Friendship Village Columbus, we live up to our name. We’re a senior living community filled with friendship, purpose, and peace of mind. If you (or a loved one) are looking for a place to call home, come visit our community and feel the difference. Between activities, clubs, dining options, and neighbors and friends that feel like family, there’s always something to do and someone to see here at FVC. Don’t spend another holiday season alone; come to FVC and bring more happiness to your holidays and your life!

Contact us here to schedule a tour of our community.

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