Christmas time is a wonderful time of year. The sights, sounds, smells, and tastes often bring back wonderful memories. The wonder in children’s eyes and gathering with family and friends to celebrate the season can be delightful, joyful, and whimsical. I really love Christmas, and everything involved with it.
I believe that it is important to remember that the whole reason we observe Christmas is to celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. I think we should take time to slow down this Christmas season and appreciate all of the gifts and blessings in our lives.
At the same time, I recognize that for many people, it is the very fact that this is a joyous time of year that makes it so difficult. For seniors living alone, loneliness and social isolation can be extra painful this time of year. Seeing others enjoying time with family and friends can be a stark reminder of loved ones that have passed on or simply cannot or will not visit.
If you have family members you have not seen in a while, I suggest that Christmas is the perfect time to reach out to them and reestablish the relationship. Life is so short, and the years slip by before you know it.
In researching this article, I have found it difficult to come up with a percentage of seniors who live alone. Estimates of those over the age of 65 who live alone range from 28% to 43%. Either way, a significant number of seniors live alone and many of them experience loneliness and social isolation. What I did find was lots of information on the physical and mental health effects of loneliness and social isolation. It turns out that loneliness and social isolation can increase the likelihood of things like stroke, heart attack, and mental health disorders. It can even increase the risk of dementia by 50% and shorten a person’s life expectancy by as much as 15 years!
Loneliness and social isolation, especially during the holidays, is a big deal! People all around us are suffering in silence. If you are a senior living alone, I would suggest you reach out to those around you. Invite a friend to come over, get involved at a local senior center, join a church or civic group, or volunteer at a worthy organization. It may seem daunting at first if you are on the shy side, but I believe that you will find it worthwhile. You are likely to feel fulfilled and make lots of new friends.
If you know someone who lives alone and needs a friend, take the time to reach out to them this Christmas season. A small gift, a special treat, or just taking the time to visit can make all the difference to a lonely senior. I found several websites where you can send handwritten notes to seniors all over the world. Amazing how a few minutes of your time can brighten someone’s day!
Closer to home, Home Instead hosts Be a Santa to a Senior in Roanoke and Lynchburg. There are gift trees at various locations where you can select a bulb with a senior’s name and gift request. These are seniors who would not receive a Christmas gift if it were not for this program. Call Home Instead at 434-385-0321 for more information.
Whatever you do, look around you and see if you can brighten someone’s day this Christmas.
From all of us at Solid Rock Enterprises, Inc. I wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
Contact Chris to learn more at 540-384-2064 or by email at email@example.com.