Seniors Alone During the Holidays

By Pam Canty, Intake and Screening Integration Coordinator at Elder Law of Michigan

The holiday season is the time of year when people are busy shopping, going to dinner, partying, visiting relatives, and preparing meals. However, there is a population of people who are very much alone or lonely: seniors. Often seniors are alone not by choice but due to circumstances that are out of their control. It could be a death of a spouse, relative, friend, or even pets. Also, in some situations, relatives or friends no longer live in the area.

Health problems make leaving home a challenge for many seniors. These situations lead seniors to only leave their homes for doctor appointments and to grocery shop. In addition to medical reasons restricting their mobility, some seniors are fearful and feel vulnerable leaving their home on their own. Seniors often do not have extra money, transportation, or a support network. The loss of independence can make it difficult for seniors to rely on help from others.

Last week, I had a chance to volunteer with a local organization that assembled Christmas gift boxes for seniors who are alone, low income, home-bound, or just need a little extra food and personal care items. Over 350 seniors were served during this three-hour event.

As we begin our holiday celebration let us remember those that may be spending the holiday season alone. Check out Tips for Reducing Loneliness in Elders Around the Holidays and How to Help Seniors Fight Loneliness During the Holidays for ideas on how to brighten the holiday season for older adults living on their own

Pam Canty is an Intake and Screening Integration Coordinator at Elder Law of Michigan and has been a member of the Elder Law of Michigan team since 2005. As an Intake and Screening Coordinator, Pam helps seniors in Michigan apply for food assistance and other benefits.