Currently, around one million Americans live in some type of senior living community, and that number is expected to double by 2030. This gives you plenty of opportunities to make a difference this holiday season. Here are a few meaningful ways to bring holiday cheer to the elderly members of your community.
Running Errands and Helping with Housework
While this can be done throughout the year, the holidays can be especially difficult for the elderly. They may be grieving the loss of loved ones, and their children may rarely visit. Many elderly people need help getting to the grocery store, handling basic household chores, and picking up their medications from the pharmacy. During the holidays, you may be able to help your elderly neighbors put up decorations.
Even though they may have Medicare, they may need assistance with co-pays and transportation. Every day, another 10,000 people turn 65, making them eligible for the government-provided health insurance program, but coverage may be limited. If you take your elderly neighbors to the doctor and pharmacy and cover their co-pays, it can help them at saving money for items, such as groceries.
Hosting Activities at a Nursing Home
Back in 2010, according to McKnight's Senior Living, senior housing occupancy was at 86.9%, but not all seniors are able to live independently. When volunteers visit nursing homes to sing holiday tunes and host Bingo games, this tends to bring a lot of cheer to the elderly. Occasionally, nursing home residents may still have the capacity for basic crafts, even if their arthritis has put an end to their days of crocheting and woodworking. They may find making handmade cards meaningful and enjoyable.
Of course, assisted living can be very expensive, so putting together care packages containing items, such as shampoo, lotion, and body wash to distribute to the residents at your local nursing home can go a long way to helping seniors with saving money.
Inviting Elderly Neighbors to Holiday Meals
Often, seniors are grieving the loss of their partners, siblings, and parents, which makes the holidays feel very lonely for them. Their children are likely grown and busy with work and their own children if they even live close by. Inviting your elderly neighbors to join your family for a holiday meal is a simple, yet meaningful way that you can make a difference.
Now, there are many seniors that are homebound due to mobility issues. In this scenario, you can bring them a plate of food from your home or even drop off some groceries. Just make sure that you are aware of their dietary restrictions. For instance, some seniors can't eat ham due to its sodium level or they may have type 2 diabetes that prevents them from joining you for a slice of apple pie.
Providing Assistance with Yardwork
When it snows, seniors are at a higher risk of slipping and falling on icy front steps and often have difficulty shoveling snow from their driveway. Helping your elderly neighbors with these tasks is a very important way of making a difference during the holiday season.
When the weather is cold, seniors may potentially become sick with the flu or pneumonia and their arthritis may worsen, so grabbing their mail and bringing it to their front door is a meaningful way of providing your neighbors with assistance during the holidays.
The holidays aren't just the time of year for presents, feasts, and family- it's a time to spread cheer throughout your community, and helping the seniors in your neighborhood is a meaningful way to make a difference this holiday season.