Image of elderly man alone for the holidaysThe “Most Wonderful Time of the Year” may seem to be anything but when you’re an elderly person who spends a lot of time alone during the holidays.

Senior citizens who have lost spouses, friends and loved ones over the years are particularly susceptible to feelings of depression, loneliness, and isolation at this time of year. Perhaps feeling pressure to enjoy the season, they may remember past holidays spent with loved ones and lament the passing of those days.

More than one-quarter of senior citizens live alone, while one in five do not drive, increasing the risk of isolation.

Embassy Healthcare offers the following suggestions on how you can help make the holidays feel more special and less lonely for the elderly in your life:

  1. Help them decorate: Seeing pretty decorations around their home or room can do wonders to lift a person’s mood. Put up some framed holiday-themed photographs if you have some. If they have some old decorations to unpack, ask them to reminisce about past holidays as they do so.
  2. Send cards: Ask family and friends to send holiday cards to the senior to give them something to read and put up in their room. This will remind them that people love them and give them some feel-good mail to open.
  3. Get cooking: Cook or bake some traditional holiday treats. If they aren’t able to help much, ask them what their favorite holiday foods were and try your hand at them. It may help bring back good memories. Decorate their table with some festive decorations.
  4. Listen to them: Be sure to actively listen to them, even if they tend to dwell on the negative aspects of life. Having an honest, open talk can help them come to terms with whatever hardship they may be dealing with, be it a loss or health concern.
  5. Be there: Above all else, it’s important to simply spend time with the senior – regardless of what you do together. It doesn’t have to be anything elaborate. Simple acts such as looking at family photo albums, watching Christmas movies together, listening to holiday music or just sitting and talking will help them feel loved.

To see if Embassy Healthcare communities may be right for your elderly loved one, call us at 888-975-1379 or schedule a tour online.