The holiday seasons bring people together for celebration and jubilee. For many seniors, however, holidays can trigger intense loneliness, especially if your spouse or close friends have passed or live too far away to visit. Yet there are a surprising number of ways to change this, both in general and by being an active member of a church or senior living community, such as a continuing care retirement community (CCRC). Here’s how you can relieve holiday loneliness and put joy and companionship back in your life this season.
General Coping Strategies
There are plenty of simple strategies you can use to ward off senior loneliness this holiday season:
- Stay connected. Keep in touch with your family and friends through calls, texts, and video chats. Video chats are especially beneficial, as you can use them to do activities, such as playing games, teaching skills to younger loved ones, or cooking together. Consider also reaching out to people with whom you’ve lost touch over the years. They may appreciate the companionship during the holidays, too
- Volunteer. Use the holiday season as an opportunity to give back. Volunteering not only gives you something to do at a time when charities and nonprofits most need the help, but also gives you a chance to interact with new people. It’s an easy, natural way to build new relationships, or simply enjoy being surrounded by people who are working toward a worthy cause. Volunteering can also reinforce your sense of purpose.
- Join a social group or take a class. Simply adding a new social activity to your schedule or learning something new can be a great way to stay active in your community and keep your mind off of gloomy subjects. In addition, of course, you’ll enjoy interacting with new people who share a common interest.
- Consider adopting a pet. If you have the ability to care for a pet, they can be the perfect daily companion, especially during the early morning and late at night, and when bad weather keeps you at home. Choose a pet that can easily form emotional bonds and whose care needs are compatible with your lifestyle. Pets are beneficial not just for preventing loneliness, but for improved brain, heart, and overall physical health. If you adopt from a shelter or rescue group, you’ll experience the joy of saving a life, too.
- Communicate. If you’re struggling, it’s essential to let those around you know how you feel. This may prompt them to spend more time with you, even if it’s just to share how each of you are feeling during the holidays. Odds are that your loved ones won’t just be helping you get through the season, but that you’ll be helping each other.
- Seek professional help. If loneliness feels like a lot to handle, consider speaking to a counselor or a healthcare provider for coping strategies. This is important because poor mental health can also lead to poor physical health (and vice versa). In addition to psychological therapy, care providers can also help to ensure that you’re getting the right balance of vitamins, minerals, and overall biochemistry you need to reduce anxiety or depression, which can worsen loneliness.
Finding Comfort in Faith
For Christian seniors, faith can be an incredibly powerful tool in overcoming loneliness at Christmas. Here are some ways that faith can be helpful during the holiday season.
Reading the Bible
Reading the Bible strengthens your relationship with God, which can be especially meaningful during hours and days when you can’t socialize with others. Scripture offers numerous comforting promises about how God won’t abandon you:
- God's constant presence. In Matthew 28:20, Jesus tells us, "I am with you always, even to the end of the age." This promise assures us that God is always there, offering companionship even when you feel alone.
- Divine help. The psalmist reminds us that God not only helps us but also grants us strength: “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble” (Psalm 46:1).
- Healing the brokenhearted. The Bible tells us that God "heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds" (Psalm 147:3). This promise is particularly comforting for those who are grieving during the holidays.
Engaging in Prayer
Praying, and being fully present in your prayers, can also help when you feel alone. Explore the lives of people in the Bible who experienced seasons of loneliness (like Leah, David, Elijah, and Jesus, to name a few). See how they cried out to God in prayer, and be just as honest in your own prayers. You may feel less isolated knowing that countless others have felt the same way as you. Prayer can help you to reflect more carefully on your life and deepen your relationship with God.
The Role of Community in Faith
Being part of a Christian community can do wonders to alleviate loneliness. In addition to the social bonding that occurs during regular services, churches often have special holiday events, Bible study groups, and volunteer opportunities that can provide additional companionship and a sense of belonging. They also have the added benefit of helping you focus on the true joy and meaning of each holiday. After all, the birth and resurrection of Christ signals the arrival of hope and salvation for humankind.
Joining a Senior Living Community
Continuing care retirement communities (CCRCs) truly put the “living” into “senior living community.” That’s because they focus on helping seniors live full and active lives in a charming residential setting tailored for their needs and preferences. Senior independent living social interaction is easy at a CCRC because they offer a structured, communal environment that can significantly reduce feelings of loneliness. They also provide a range of regular and special holiday activities that keep seniors engaged and socially active.
In addition, you can choose a CCRC that aligns with your faith. This means that Christian seniors can enjoy the greatest possible variety of ways to feel connected and cared for during the holidays.
Feel More Connected During the Holidays With Chapel Pointe
Chapel Pointe is a Christian CCRC. We commit each day to serving and enhancing the quality of life for people aged 62+ in Central Pennsylvania. We’re honored that our greater community sees the servant-heart of our nonprofit organization and consistently selects Chapel Pointe as “The Best of Cumberland County.” Learn more about how we nurture the spiritual life of our residents, and explore our many community-oriented amenities.
Since the beginning, our team's mission has been to ensure that every resident is treated with love and the utmost respect. Experiencing our core values—trust, integrity, faith, service, and innovation—lived out every day at Chapel Pointe reassures seniors that they are making the right decision by welcoming us into their lives. Contact us to learn more about our community or support our mission by making a difference today!