Those days are upon us. You know… the ones filled with comfort and joy, family and friends, food and fun. But there are many Seniors who won’t have that experience. We all know someone who lives alone year round—for them the holidays are especially challenging. Feelings of isolation and loneliness make Seniors more vulnerable during this season or any times when they may feel left out.
Many Seniors spend the holidays alone because they’re what’s termed Solo Agers, people who are 50+, single, live alone and never had children or their children live far away. Seniors in the LGBTQ community may experience a reoccurring pain if they were shut out from family gatherings, especially during the holidays.
Widows and widowers who often spend their holidays alone experience a different kind of loneliness. When a spouse dies the other spouse feels a loss of self-identity; it’s like a part of you is missing. The grief is overwhelming and often produces a desire to be left alone. Grieving often creates this mood. It’s important to have support, especially during these times, even when we don’t appear to need it.
Most of us know someone who spends the holidays alone. But it doesn’t have to be like that. After speaking with my friend Alison about her giving circle, I thought what if Seniors in these situations became a part of giving circles to address being alone during any special dates. I’m adding the word “gathering” for a social twist. So how can we help our family and friends bridge these trying times? Well, a holiday giving/gathering circle could be a solution.
Now, I know this isn’t a new concept. It just needs to be more pronounced and put into action. It’s a call to action for all! Here are some ways to support to Seniors:.
- Get the support of your church or community center
- Create a sign up sheet for connections
- Offer Zoom for those unable to be there in person
I’d love to hear about your giving/gathering circles and how they’re used to uplift others, especially Seniors. Positive aging is key!
Pat Landaker is a Certified Senior Advisor (CSA) and owner of Living La Vida Senior. She serves on the ASA’s Innovation and Social Impact Council, the CSA’s Certification Council, the City of Henderson’s Senior Citizens Advisory Commission and she teaches Positive Aging at UNLV/OLLI. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.