Page Title

How To Make Holidays Brighter For Aging Family and Friends


The holidays are often a time of joy, togetherness and good cheer. However, for many older adults, especially if they live alone, the holidays can be stressful and even depressing. During this time of year, paying attention to our aging parents, family members, friends and neighbors is important.

An older woman opens a present

If you have older friends or family members you are concerned about this holiday season, you can help them enjoy the December festivities by following these suggestions:

  • Be inclusive. Extend an invitation to your older family members and friends and include them in holiday activities.
  • Make new memories. For older adults who live alone or do not get out of the house much, doing something new can be exciting and a great mood lifter. Consider taking them on a drive to look at holiday lights or invite them to your child’s holiday programs.
  • Promote social connections. Social connectedness is especially important during the holidays. Loneliness is a serious and difficult emotion for anyone. Think about meaningful ways you can reach out to older adults in your life.
  • Encourage reminiscing. Talking about holiday traditions and memories can be important during the later years of life. Looking at photo albums and family videos, or watching favorite classic holiday movies can encourage older adults to share their stories and experiences.
  • Increase communication efforts. If you do not live close by, make an extra effort to communicate with your older family members and friends during the holiday season.

Source: Jane Strommen, NDSU Extension Gerontology Specialist, 701-231-5948.