Retirement Home Living: Ending the Holiday Blues
The holidays, while providing a great degree of warmth and joy to some, offer nothing but loneliness and gloom to others. For seniors living in some form of isolation, symptoms of the Holiday Blues can come about quite quickly.
What's the cure to the Holiday Blues? It's nothing that a doctor can prescribe, that's for sure.
The remedy is good, simple companionship during the time of year when it's needed most. For seniors who are just about done living at home in their dependent state, the cure for the holiday blues may very well be a fateful transition to a trusted retirement facility.
It isn’t difficult for most people to imagine the sense of isolation that seniors experience, especially those living alone. However, seniors themselves are the only ones fully aware of how stifling elderly loneliness can become. Living in partial or total isolation comes with a number of causes, risks, implications and conditions:
- Perceived loneliness can result in cognitive decline and the risk of dementia
- Isolation in seniors increases mortality risk
- Social isolation in seniors has been linked to long-term illness
- Social isolation in seniors results in pessimism toward the future
- Loneliness in seniors presents a major depression risk
- LGBT seniors are more likely to be socially isolated
- Loss of a spouse presents a major risk for isolation and loneliness
- Obstacles with transportation can result in social isolation
It is well known, that those experiencing loneliness or social isolation are likely to engage in harmful health behaviors such as lack of exercise, poor diet and smoking. Technology in the form of internet or television entertainment can provide some relief from senior isolation - equally, it can serve to further segregate the senior from the outside world. Indeed, even ones are at risk for social isolation.
As everyone comes together during the holiday season, it becomes even more important for seniors to experience the glow of good companionship.
Retirement Home Living as a Remedy for Holiday Blues
With all that in mind, this holiday season might be the best time to help . By and large, retirement residents live their lives free from the burdens that come with isolation. During the holidays especially, there's much to be said for retirement living as a remedy for loneliness.
An Abundance of Holiday Activities
Aside from the attractive suites and care services that retirement residents receive, there's sure to be a holiday activity available to tickle any senior's fancy. A few examples include: holiday movie events, cookie baking, shopping trips, sing-alongs, group gift-wrapping sessions and holiday light tours. Of course, these will all unfold against a backdrop of Christmas music, decor and all the lovely scents that come with the season.
An Opportunity to Give (and Receive)
Today, many retirement homes offer residents the opportunity to receive a service from their community and provide one in turn.
Normally, this involves members of local high schools, churches and scout troops spending time in the retirement community and performing songs, playing arts and crafts or reading to their senior from a book they enjoy.
For seniors looking to give back, they can knit scarves, hats and gloves for the homeless or write a card to a soldier serving abroad over the holidays.
Fun Family Visits
Assisted living facilities offer fun visits for all ages during the holiday season. Loved ones of retirement home residents should have a look at the community calendar to see the number of holiday events available to them.
Most facilities will allow family members to reserve a space in the dining area to celebrate during the holidays. There are often special meals or community parties for families to enjoy during the season. Who knows - if the family times it right, they might even bump into Santa Claus at the facility!
No One Should Spend the Holiday Season Alone
While the holidays are an ode to joy more often than not, they can also be a source of great sadness if they are spent alone. This is true for individuals of all ages, including seniors.
As a silver lining, the gloom of the season might present a key opportunity to speak to your loved one about retirement home living. If the topic is too big an obstacle for you to cross alone, is always here to offer guidance.