We at Lifestyles After 50 wish you the merriest of holidays. Whether you spend these last days of 2018 on a trip to a snowy destination, hanging around and enjoying balmy breezes, or traveling to be with family and friends, we hope your days ahead are filled with joy, peace, blessings and serenity.
One of the best ways you can spend your free time is by giving it to someone else. During the holidays, we tend to focus our efforts on children in need and others less fortunate. We’d like you to consider expanding your generosity to the very vulnerable and often overlooked senior population.
Senior isolation, which can have numerous detrimental effects on an older adult, is a big problem that hits hard when aging folks – often widowed and outliving friends and family members – live alone without a support system in place.
Loneliness and isolation in elders put them at higher risk for depression, more rapid cognitive decline, vulnerability to abuse and scams, impaired mobility and falls, poor eating habits, medication mistakes, ill health and so on.
If you have an elder living in your neighborhood, reach out and offer them transportation to the store, a place of worship, the doctor’s office, a senior center or community event. Invite them to share a meal, take a walk, or play a card game.
Offer to help with some of the more difficult challenges they may face such as climbing ladders to wash windows or removing yard debris.
Consider reaching out to a nearby senior living center and offering to share time with a lonely adult who may enjoy a book, having their nails painted, or an occasional chat. Sometimes just a hug or conversation can do wonders to ward off loneliness and depression.
If you sense an older person has come to the point that they cannot take care of themselves properly anymore, or that they are too isolated and their safety is at risk, call the Florida Department of Elder Affairs Helpline at 1-800-96 ELDER (1- 800-963-5337).
Specialists can provide information about meal programs, volunteer opportunities, fitness classes, and home care services. The Helpline can also screen adults 60 and over
for government-funded services.
If you suspect elder abuse or self-neglect, call the Florida Department of Children and Families’ Florida Abuse Hotline
at 800-962-2873 (800-96-ABUSE).
By helping out an older person, you may be helping yourself as well. There is nothing quite like the delightful
feelings of being appreciated and knowing you’ve changed someone’s life for the better.
See you in January.
Terri Bryce Reeves, Editor