The Sage Connection

Including the elderly to help their holidays be a bit brighter


The holiday season is now in full swing. That being said, holidays are viewed a little differently when you are part of the older generation. Sometimes, sadness, not excitement, is the main emotion.

Empty chairs can bring back a sense of loss, along with the good memories. Decorating a tree and cooking for one can lose its’ appeal. Loneliness can play a big part during the holiday season.

Food drives and Toys for Tots are an important part of the holiday season. There will dinners at shelters for the homeless and turkeys passed out for families, but not much thought seems to go toward the elderly who live alone.

If transportation is an issue, church attendance may be via the television set and social outings rare, making it hard to make new friends or gather with old ones.

What can be done for those folks?

Perhaps the most important thing would be inclusion. If you have an older neighbor that you suspect will be alone for the holidays, you could invite them for dinner. And if you do that, you might also ask them what their favorite dish is.

You might also ask them if they would like to make it, and bring it along, or share their recipe, making them an important part of the dinner and providing a conversation starter.

In the past, I have served holiday dinners to those who otherwise would have been alone on Christmas and it is amazing what a cheerfully decorated table can do to lift their spirits.

I have even ‘adopted’ a senior in a nursing home that had no family and brought them to my home to celebrate the holiday.

It is a small thing, but means so much to someone who otherwise would eat a frozen meal alone.

Active adult and assisted living communities will make sure there are plenty of activities, cheerful decorations, and good food for their residents to enjoy.

Home health companies are aware of who will be alone, and often, a caregiver will spend part of their holiday with their client. They also help with decorations, addressing holiday cards, gift wrapping and other things.

Sometimes they even take them for an evening ride to see the decorated homes and brightly lit streets in town.

But not everyone has or needs a caregiver… they only need some company.

So, this season, if you have the time, an extra chair, and a little spare food, consider sharing it with someone you know that will be alone.

Spread a little extra cheer…the kind money can’t buy…and touch a life that may have been full at one time, but can seem empty today.

Kathleen Anderson writes this column each week from her home in Olympia.  Contact her at or post your comment below. 


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  • lookoutmtn

    Beautifully thought out and written!

    Thursday, December 1, 2022 Report this