Regardless if you live around the corner or across the country from them, the best way to help parents, grandparents, or other seniors you love avoid the risk of isolation is by staying engaged with them. This is true throughout the year, but especially important during the holidays.
Holidays are a time to share activities, experiences, and memories. Unfortunately, not everyone can be with their loved one during the holidays or spend as much time with them as they'd like. Many factors can derail our best intentions of connecting or re-connecting with those aging family members -- work, school, children, money, etc.
Scientific research has found (and we agree) that staying engaged with and maintaining positive relationships with those we love who are aging is the single best way to help them live a healthier, happier life. Relationships are more important than even genetics, lifestyle, diet, and other factors. For more on this topic and to learn more about the Harvard Medical School's 75+ year study on Aging, read the article from the Harvard Gazette or watch the video of Harvard's Dr. Waldinger discussing the amazing findings in a TEDx talk.
One way to help your loved ones even when you can't be there in person is by finding ways to stay engaged with them. This could be simply having a regular phone call and finding new topics to discuss (other than the weather and health). Or it could be a something that keeps their mind active and helps them to socialize with friends or neighbors. Another option could be a subscription box like the one the Loved1 team creates each month for seniors. We select each item in every box with the goal of having it be something that could help improve engagement for the recipient and the people around them. This could be a new flavor of tea they can share with a friend, a birdhouse they can build with the grandchild, a puzzle to work with a neighbor, or a wellness topic from the news that they can talk about with you on the phone.
As the busy holiday season quickly approaches, remember that staying connected to your special senior is the most important thing you can do for their health. We're here to help, if you need us.
The Loved1 Team