10 Ways to Show You Care About Seniors This Holiday Season
December 14, 2017
Updated November 2023
The holiday season can be an especially tough and lonely time for seniors in retirement residences or long-term care facilities, or who live on their own.
So why not take some time out this December, to do something special for a senior over the holidays?
Here are just a few ideas to help out—whether it’s a family member, friend, or complete stranger. Each idea is simple, but can mean so much to a senior!
Take them shopping
It's always nice to get out especially when there are things you need. However many seniors stay indoors as much as they can when there is snow and ice. Offering to accompany a senior as well as drive is a way to spend more quality time as well as check somethings off their list. If limited mobility is an issue, ensure they have a walker or wheelchair to make moving more comfortable.
Do their holiday shopping for them
Ask them for a list of things they’d like to buy, and then do the legwork for them (including delivery). And remember, they are likely on a limited budget, so avoid making expensive recommendations.
Take the initiative to alleviate the holiday stress for your loved ones and other seniors by offering to handle their holiday shopping. Begin by asking them to provide a list of items they desire, and then take on the responsibility of navigating through the bustling holiday marketplaces on their behalf. Not only will you spare them the time and effort, but you can also ensure a seamless process by managing the entire shopping experience, including arranging for convenient deliveries.
Transform the act of wrapping presents into a heartwarming social activity by teaming up with a senior friend or family member. Create a festive ambiance by playing holiday music in the background, turning what might be a routine task into a joyful and shared experience. Embrace the opportunity to spend quality time together, strengthening bonds and creating lasting memories.
To make the wrapping session even more special, come prepared with all the necessary supplies. Bring an assortment of wrapping paper, ribbons, bows, and gift tags to ensure a variety of options for a personalized touch.
Help them decorate
Help them make their place look festive. Add decorations to their home or retirement room. Even a small potted tree with tiny lights can make their space feel warm and holiday-ready.
Send a card in the mail
According to this article, cards often bring bad news to seniors and tend to diminish in quantity over the years (given that fewer people send cards anymore). Send a nice card, letter or picture to keep the senior’s seasonal mail more upbeat.
Seek out events
Find out and attend events for seniors in your community, or see if there are any social gatherings coming up at their retirement residence. Tell the senior in your life about these events, and/or volunteer your time at one!
Don’t have a senior in your life, but still want to do something for them?
Contact your local retirement residence or nearby church or community centre. Many organizations have special programs around the holidays, where they make special visits to seniors who live alone. There are also programs like Ottawa-based Santa 4 Seniors where you can volunteer your time delivering gifts to isolated seniors in the city.
Especially if it’s a family member, remind them that they are loved by including them in holiday festivities. Whether it’s a movie night at home, a small gathering of friends and family, doing crafts or baking, a simple invitation can go a long way to easing their loneliness.
Above all else, listen
Be an active listener, and show empathy. Not all discussions may be positive—in fact, some topics of conversation may be quite sad. But by listening, you can learn a lot about the senior in your life. If they’re feeling down over the holidays, you may also be able to lift their spirits simply by lending a caring ear.