November 15, 2021

Finding Ways to Deal with Holiday Loneliness as We Age


Even though holidays are supposed to be a time of cheer, for a lot of us, the time can be stressful and sad. It's not always snow angels and mistletoe for everyone, especially our senior community, who may be grappling with intensified feelings of loneliness during the holiday time.

The good news is that there are ways to combat loneliness and depression during the holidays.

How to Help Holiday Loneliness As an Older Adult

If you're an older adult who's feeling lonely, or you know someone that is, take a look at these tips to help stock holiday loneliness in its tracks. 

Accept and Understand Your Feelings

First things first: it's okay to not feel okay. Don't fight these emotions or beat yourself up about the way you're feeling. It's natural and normal to get the holiday blues. In fact, statistics show that about one in four seniors suffer from depression, and more than 70% of older Americans feel isolated and lonely.

So, these feelings you may be experiencing are entirely normal and are often exacerbated by the holiday season. Choose to accept yourself and allow yourself to feel the emotions that come naturally.

Note, if feeling of depression persist for longer than two weeks and impact your normal functioning, please consider seeking professional help. You can contact the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) National Helpline at 1-800-662-4357 for information on support and treatment in your area.

Reach Out to Family and Friends

Rule number two can be one of the hardest: don't be afraid to ask for help. Sometimes, seniors get forgotten during the hustle and bustle of the holiday season. But a simple phone call to a loved one to let them know you're feeling a bit down can go a long way when it comes to curing your holiday blues.

If your loved ones are far away or are practicing social distancing this year, there are plenty of virtual activities for seniors that will get you connected to like-minded people who may also be feeling alone during this time.

Meet New People and Try New Things

A Televeda class hosted by the Creative Dementia Collective on art therapy practices.

There are heaps of excellent resources available for older adults and seniors to meet new friends, from virtual tai chi to bingobook clubs, and all kinds of other social games and activities.

Televeda, for example, makes organizing a social calendar easy as we digitize senior center activities and instructors and create personalized activities calendars that are up-to-date with your events to allow quick and easy access — no advanced technical skills required.

Check out some of our upcoming Televeda events here! 

Give Back

Tis the season to give back! What better way to experience the holiday spirit than by helping those in need? Volunteering is an instant mood lifter and a great way to meet new people.

Volunteering has even been shown to help combat depression by keeping the mind distracted and engaged. It can also boost motivation and help you feel accomplished, make you feel as if you are part of a community, and introduce you to new skills and challenges, while also genuinely making a positive difference in your local community and world.

Need some ideas on where to volunteer? Head to our full post here on some volunteering ideas for adults! 

Get Involved with Holiday Activities

How cute is this little guy! Get in on the fun! 

Even if your mobility is limited and your mind isn't as sharp as it used to be, there are still plenty of things you can help with this holiday season. Let your loved ones know that you are willing and able to help out.

Whether it's addressing holiday cards, peeling potatoes for Christmas dinner or making a dessert, keeping the little ones occupied, or knitting a sweater for a White Elephant gift exchange, you will feel a lot better knowing you're doing your part.

Even just decorating your room or home with sparkling lights and decorations can instantly lift your spirits and mood. Not to mention baking or decorating holiday cookies...what can be better than that?!

Do What You Love

Simple, but true. During the holidays—and every day—it's important to find the time to do things that nurture your soul. Whether it's going on a walk around the block, knitting, grabbing coffee with a loved one, or anything else, don't neglect your wants and needs during the busy holiday season.

Allowing yourself some time to indulge in your favorite activities and re-connect with yourself is a highly effective way to help combat loneliness.

If you're worried about your older loved one's loneliness during the holiday season, it's important to take some extra time to play cards, do some art or yard work, or any other hobbies that your senior loved one has. If your senior loved one wants to try a new hobby, free Televeda classes are a great place to start.

Televeda is Here To Help over the Holidays!

We hope this post has helped teach you a few coping skills for managing loneliness over the holidays or supporting lonely seniors. Remember, it's okay to feel lonely from time to time, and it's how you respond to that loneliness that counts.

Televeda is here to help you stay active over the holidays. You can join a class and meet new people — no matter where you are! Sign up for free today to join our welcoming community.

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