If you’re looking to give back this holiday season, helping your aging seniors is a great place to start! While the holidays are usually joyful, they can be tough for many seniors, especially those dealing with grief, living alone, facing mobility challenges, or unable to be with their families.
Here are 8 ways you can help make moments merry for our aging neighbors:
1. Check in.
For those struggling with loneliness this time of year or missing loved ones, sometimes the thing they need the most is just companionship. Check in with your loved one regularly or pop over to see your neighbor. While a phone call, text or email can make their day, visiting them, even for a short while, can do wonders during the holidays. You might also consider surprising them with a little gift such as tea, coffee or baked goods.
2. Assist in the Christmas shopping.
Christmas shopping can feel overwhelming, especially if you lack transportation or aren’t comfortable with online shopping. Many of our aging neighbors struggle with declining energy as well as mobility issues and need help but don’t want to ask. Offer to shop for them or stop by to help them shop online!
3. Help them add a festive touch to their home.
Having decorations around can make the home feel cozy and cheerful. But as we age, decorating can take more time, energy, and work. Offer to help set up their Christmas tree or add some lights to their windows. Unpacking their ornaments or Christmas Village pieces can spark stories and meaningful conversations. It doesn’t need to be much, but a little decorating won’t take you much time but will be so meaningful for them.
4. Assist in making a favorite meal or recipe.
Many may feel useless or burdensome if they cannot contribute to the festivities like they used to. Spend an hour or two helping them make a favorite family dish or dessert to bring to a holiday gathering. Ask them if they have a family recipe they want to make or offer one of yours. You can also buy cookie kits and enjoy conversation as you sit at the table and decorate Christmas cookies.
5: Light up their life!
Take a drive to see one of the many the light displays around the valley. Bring your favorite holiday music to enjoy, or tune in to local station 99.9 for non-stop Christmas tunes! You can also stroll around Diamond Lake Annual Luminaria Walk.
6. Fill their mailbox.
Our aging seniors love going to the mailbox and opening mail. Ask friends, church groups and family members to send cards, photographs or drawings to help keep their seasonal mail more upbeat. Send a handwritten message sharing a personal message, update, story or favorite memory. You may also consider helping them write cards or letters to send out to their family and friends.
7. Include them in church, family or community activities.
No one likes to be alone for the holidays and being alone can contribute to feelings of loneliness. Extend an invitation to join you at a community or church event or at your home for holiday movie nights. Seniors love children so include them in activities whenever possible. Also, don’t forget that many would even love to help bake cookies or wrap presents.
8. Give the gift that keeps on giving.
At Neighbors Who Care, we know all about the struggles of our aging neighbors living alone. We know you will be blessed by being there for our aging community this holiday season and hope you consider continuing helping our aging neighbors throughout 2024.
Here’s a few things you can do all year long:
• Transportation to important appointments
• Take them or do their shopping & errands
• Deliver dinner
• Give caregivers a break with respite care
• Check in with them with regular calls
• Drive the NWC van to Frys, WalMart, etc.
• Do minor household repairs
For more volunteer opportunities, visit our services page.
Remember, it’s less about what you do and more about just being there. Your time can be the most valuable gift of all.