Senior Health and Wellbeing | November 19, 2021
It’s more crucial than ever to Connect with Seniors During the Holidays and keep in touch with loved ones in a safe, caring manner, when in-person visits and holiday dinners may not be possible. Families should develop meaningful methods to ensure that older persons are physically and emotionally healthy, as well as that they enjoy the holiday season. And connection isn’t just vital on significant days on the calendar — it’s important all year long, not just around the holidays.
Senior isolation and loneliness, particularly during quarantine and stay-at-home orders for seniors, can contribute to depression. It takes very little time or effort to brighten someone’s day with a smile and a friendly greeting in any form. Many people will need to find new methods to keep connected now that many seasonal activities are on hold.
Phone calls: Don’t underestimate the pleasure that a daily or weekly phone call can provide to elders and their caregivers. The majority of seniors have access to a phone. Make a phone or send an email when you know they’ll be available. Spend time over the holidays talking about previous celebrations, family news, and everyone’s health. Make jokes, sing holiday tunes together, and remember to laugh at yourself.
Video calls: A video call can be made using a variety of apps and websites. Although many elders are conversant with technology, some are not. For older folks who aren’t sure how to get started, have someone in their family assist them in setting up a video call. Also, if a senior doesn’t have access to a video system, the family can consider giving him or her a tablet or smartphone. Make the first move and call them first, even if they are familiar with the technology. Video calls made on the spur of the moment may catch some people off guard, so be considerate of others’ time and space. Make it special by decorating your background, sending small items to your senior loved ones to adorn theirs, using seasonal frames, or using the time to sing or read stories together.
Recorded video messages: Recorded video messages are another method to spread holiday cheer via video. Make a short film with family and friends and send it to a senior loved one. Some programs make recording and editing videos simple, and for many seniors, being able to view their loved ones at any time is a wonderful gift.
Letters and postcards: Nothing beats receiving a pleasant surprise in the mail. To give a personal update, favorite memory, or anecdote, write a handwritten message or type and print a larger letter. Include a couple of printed photos in the package as an added gift. Also, remember to contact senior relatives early and often during the holidays. Set up a pen pal exchange or send frequent holiday messages.
Visit a senior safely: While it is not recommended that seniors attend in-person events outside of their homes during the holidays, there are numerous inventive ways to show them love. Leave a message in chalk on their sidewalk, stand outside with signs and banners, organize a family Christmas parade for a senior, leave a nice present on their doorstep, or sing carols.
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