The holidays can feel lonely if you don’t have someone with whom to enjoy the season. No matter what you celebrate — or maybe you don’t celebrate anything — December is filled with reminders to be with loved ones.
What if you really miss having a special someone? You like to snuggle in front of a present-bedecked tree, but you have no one to snuggle. Or you enjoy lighting a menorah with a sweetie. Or maybe you love sharing holiday light viewing while walking hand in hand.
I have two suggestions for getting you through the holidays.
The first is a bit pedestrian, but I have to remind you. Do the things you love anyway, whether with friends or by yourself. Don’t linger on loneliness — focus on the enjoyment of the activity.
The second is a bit more unusual. Visit a nursing home and bring some of what you love to them. This holiday I’m visiting my aunt who now lives in a nursing home. I’ve been hanging out with her a few hours a day for the last 5 days. I notice there are lots of people who don’t get a lot of attention. When the staff does talk to them, hold their hand or hug them, their eyes shine, a smile crosses their face, they seem more alive.
The home provides daily activities like bingo, and groups come in to carol and offer seasonal entertainment. But I’m sure they are not overloaded with visitors or activities. If you like to carol, why not either join in when caroling groups visit, or put together your own group and offer to visit? Want to have company while menorah lighting? Why not call a local home and see if they are doing it there and can you join in?
While it’s doubtful you could take the residents out to look at colorful lights, you could ask the home if you can bring some to decorate the pubic rooms, or for those would like a string or two in their own rooms?
Or maybe you’d enjoy reading some classic holiday stories to the residents. Even taking a well-trained dog brings joy to those who miss their own pets.
What else can you think of to offer to those who also feel lonely but can’t get out to have their companionship needs met? Share your ideas with us.