Medicine Hat Community Living – Diane Eley

PEACE ON EARTH

In this most treasured of seasons, where the whole world as one recognizes and celebrates the birth of Jesus – God’s most precious gift to mankind, it’s easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of the season. It’s a time of giving, of sharing – friends, family, laughter, joy – it is the most heartwarming —and the most heart-rendering of seasons.  As we celebrate and are drawn into festivities, just so are many alone –  trapped in their homes, seeing less than one person a week. Of course, isolation and loneliness are not limited to the Christmas season, but somehow it’s impact is perhaps more potent at this time of year. Studies have proven that loneliness ranks a higher health risk than smoking and obesity, and with family members spread far and wide it is more likely to affect those who are seniors struggling with illness and/or bereavement. For this reason, it is an excellent choice to consider senior communities that provide support and socialization – and there are excellent resources for safe and comfortable housing listed online.

For those who have a senior in their family celebrations, consider the following:

  • Include your senior in family activities – whether they prefer to participate or simply  enjoy watching the fun
  • Speak slower, louder and distinctly – but not talk “down” to the person
  • Don’t rush older people
  • Be mindful of dietary requirements and preferences
  • Ask them to share their Christmas memories and experiences.

Everyone can make a difference in a senior’s life through small acts of kindness:  checking in on an older neighbor regularly; popping a card through their door; stopping for a chat – things that only take a moment of your time, but can make such a difference to another.    We can all play a part to help prevent loneliness and bring peace on earth to our corner of the world.