How to Improve a Senior's Holiday Experience

15 Dec How to Improve a Senior's Holiday Experience

6 Tips to Make it Merry and Bright...and a Lot Less Lonely!

By Barbara Moran, RN, Director of Patient Services

In December, we are bombarded by images of holiday splendor from the the beautiful lighted decorations in our neighborhoods to festive decorations at the local pharmacy. However, many seniors may begin to feel isolated and depressed as the holiday season can be a trigger for memories of loved ones lost, friends who may be ill and feeling a bit more isolated than normal.

If you believe that your client or loved one may be depressed during the holiday season, below are simple ways you can help lift their spirits and remind them they are connected to others who care for them.

1)  Encourage them to engage in crafts, cooking, etc.

Encourage them to partake in an activity to create homemade decorations, gifts or foods for family members and friends. By making a list of family members and a few close friends to prepare gifts for, you can remind them they are connected to others.  By making simple craft gifts or holiday favorite recipes, the activity will distract from boredom and isolation. Here is a great craft site:  Click Here

2)  Holiday Cards

Over the years, holiday cards may bring sad news and diminish in quantity. Your client or loved one may also be keenly aware of the people she/he didn’t hear from. If possible, think in advance and ask their family members and select friends to send a simple card, photograph or drawing by a child to help keep their mailbox full.  In return, have your them purchase cards that they can address and send or you can assist with.

3)  STEP out on the town

If the patient is mobile and interested…get them out!  We have created our monthly STEPPING Out Senior Activity Guide for you.  If you are interested please email us at and we will reply with a copy.  Print the sheet and discuss it with the family about attending one of the various seasonal activities in Westchester such as the Metropolitan Opera Live at the White Plains County Center on select Saturdays and local productions of the Nutcracker such as SUNY Purchase.

4)  Religious activities

Check with your loved one’s religious organization to see if they can offer social and/or spiritual support. Many churches and synagogs provide one-on-one support or elder programs to visit those who are having difficulties. Just having someone familiar to talk to can raise their spirits. In Greenwich, CT, The St. Catherine’s Church offers a Faith Community Nursing program too promote health and wellness of body, mind and spirit within our faith community through worship, service and education.  Trained volunteers visit seniors in the community.  To visit their site Click Here.

5)  Plan a little "holiday party"

Call your loved one’s closest friends and neighbors and see if they would be able to come to a small holiday gathering at their home. It does not have to be a planned party, but more of a last-minute small gathering for tea. Play seasonal music and shop for small gifts for a gift exchange.

6)  Decorate!

Decorate! Make the dining table come to life with beautiful holiday settings made from simple craft materials and natural items found in their yard such as pine cones.  Invite their grandchildren over to help decorate the table. Local art stores such as Michaels and A.I. Friedman’s offer plenty of fun craft kits and supplies. Check out this site for some ideas:  Click Here.

If you have more ideas, we would love to hear them.  Please send them to us at or visit our Facebook page and leave a comment associated with this post.

Happy Holidays from STEPS Home Care!!!