As the holiday season approaches, it’s important to realize that feelings of loneliness might be heightened during this time of year, especially for older adults. This year the holiday season will also feel very different as we all adjust our celebrations with safety in mind. Even though things look different this year, there are still ways to keep connected with and prevent social isolation for our older loved ones.
Following are some ideas to help prevent social isolation and keep your loved one feeling connected during the holidays and even throughout the winter months:
With COVID-19 safety in mind, consider having your loved ones join the holiday celebrations, virtually. Bringing the family together on Zoom or Facetime for a meal together can be a great way to help your loved one feel connected during the holiday season. At Clark we can help facilitate Zoom and Facetime calls for our residents to ensure they can partake in family activities.
Everyone loves receiving mail and packages. During the holiday season and throughout the winter, have family members of all ages send cards or care packages to your loved one. Little ones can create drawings or other crafts that they’ve made. You can also encourage your loved one to write postcards to family members and friends as a way to brighten up their day, too. Create a care package with things special to your loved one — family photos, a book they might enjoy, a snack they love.
Get your loved one involved with the holidays by having them use their skills for gift making or holiday decorations. Maybe they are an excellent knitter, or they love to get crafty. Finding a way to enlist their skills and hobbies will help them feel like a part of the celebration, even if they can’t be there physically.
Is there a cookie or treat you always make during the holiday season? Consider sending these treats to your loved one. They’ll appreciate getting a “taste” of the holiday spirit.
The most important thing you can do is keep in touch with your loved ones. Give them a call on the phone, even if it’s just to say “Hi!” and that you are thinking of them. If a loved one is not able to attend a holiday celebration, pick a time to call them so they can speak with various family members. Don’t underestimate the power of a phone call to help someone feel connected!
This holiday season and winter will likely be more challenging than most, but keeping older adults socially connected is important to prevent social isolation. This year presents an opportunity for our community to rise to the occasion and come up with creative solutions to keep our loved ones safe and connected.