For many individuals, the holidays are a time to visit with friends and family, but for some older individuals it can be a time of loneliness.
According to AARP, more than one in five Americans 65 years and older are at risk of becoming an older orphan, or an older person without a family.
The Lansing region is no exception. In fact, Brenda Green, owner of New Life Assisted Living Center, said she sees residents of her facility who either don’t have families or whose families don’t visit all the time.
“There are always going to be people who don’t have families who visit,” said Green.
Although she said there are opportunities to visit and support senior citizens year-round, there are also easy things individuals can do to brighten up the holidays for those in assisted living facilities.
- Bring in treats and snacks
- Sing songs and Christmas carols with the residents
- Buy small gifts like socks, Chapstick or lotion
- Read to residents
Toka Cummings, activity director at Medilodge of Campus Area, said people can also send seniors stuffed animals, come into the facility and bake Christmas cookies or do arts and crafts with them.
Both Green and Cummings emphasized how important it is and how much sitting down and visiting with seniors can mean during the holidays.
“It’s important to them because it shows someone cares,” said Green. “Someone spent that time with another human being that needed that love.”
Simple acts of kindness can go a long way, Cummings noted.
“It makes a remarkable difference,” she said. “It brings sunshine and joy and love into their hearts.”
If you are interested in brightening the holidays for area senior citizens, contact New Life Assisted Living Center, Medilodge of Campus Area or one of the many assisted living centers in the Lansing region to set up a time to visit.