Seven Ways to Help Seniors During the Holidays

The hectic, break-neck pace of the Holiday Season is upon us. As you scurry to get the house decorated and gifts purchased, and under the tree, take a few minutes to look in on your aging friends and neighbors. The Holidays can be difficult and lonely for those who live by themselves or are caring for a loved one alone. Here are a few ways to make the Holidays a little bit brighter for a senior and/or their caregiver.

  • Cook extra – As you prepare a meal for yourself make enough to share. Providing an occasional meal won’t cost much but will be a very welcomed treat for someone who can no longer cook for themselves.
  • Offer a ride – Provide a ride to the store, a doctor’s appointment or the farmer’s market. Or perhaps a drive through town with all the windows down. A change of scenery and fresh air will go a long way for someone whose mobility is limited and will result in lifting their mood.
  • Share a cup of coffee or tea – Coffee with a friend is a treasured pastime for many, but those who live alone or are caregivers rarely have the opportunity. Sharing thoughts and stories over a warm drink is a great way to share Holiday cheer and ease loneliness.
  • Offer to help decorate – Decorating for the Holidays is a chore that some can no longer handle. As a result, they will choose to simply not decorate at all.  A simple table top Christmas tree or a couple strands of hung lights will bring some unexpected Holiday cheer.
  • Provide respite – For a caregiver, a couple of hours of time away may be just what the doctor ordered. A little time to run errands or simply go for a walk is an indulgence many caregivers cannot afford. Often times family caregivers do not want to impose on others, so don’t wait for them to ask for help. Step up and offer it instead.
  • Invite volunteerism – Inviting someone who lives alone to volunteer in the community alongside you will allow them to feel engaged and needed. Giving an individual purpose will result in a  healthier and happier person.
  • Pay attention – Is your aging neighbor alone? Do they have family nearby? Is the house/yard unkempt? Do they have access to food? Is transportation an issue?

The Holidays are a time of sharing, caring and building lasting memories.  You will, no doubt, build beautiful memories and find joy in giving and sharing with your aging friends and neighbors this Holiday Season.

I’m Liz Craven, and I live in Lakeland, FL with my husband Wes and our menagerie of pets (our kids are grown up now and killing the whole adulting thing). We own a local publishing company, Pro-Ad Media, and for the last 25 years have been providing digest sized publications featuring various aspects of Polk County life. Having lived here for most of my adult life, I have a pretty good handle on what makes a community special. I serve on multiple boards, and I love connecting people to each other and to local organizations that can enrich their lives.

The inspiration for the first printed ElderCare Guide came from my own experience learning to navigate the senior care world for family and wishing I had a handy resource. With our website, we can now provide tools and assistance to family members wherever they are.

Though I’m new to the blogging scene, anyone who knows me knows I almost always have something to say. Originally, I thought this was going to be my blog about all things seniors, a vehicle to share what I know about seniors that might be of interest and helpful to others. Then I realized this should be a bigger conversation, one that we need to have as a community. Over the years I’ve had the privilege of meeting engaged and passionate people who have dedicated themselves to making Polk County a great place to live for people of all ages. This conversation should include them, and it should include you. So, while you will hear from me personally on a regular basis, you will also hear from local leaders and professionals who will shed light on different topics related to senior adults. As a local conversation, those who share here are accessible to you in case you have more questions about their topics (see, there is that connecting people thing again. So much fun!).

I hope you will join me in this weekly conversation. Moreover, I hope you will invite others to join the conversation as well. If you have particular topics of interest you’d like to hear more about, let me know and I’ll do my best to address them. Follow us on Facebook and Pinterest for more great information.

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