“As we start the New Year, I’m trying not to feel that post-holiday let-down,” 83-year-old Sarah told me during a visit. “It was so much fun having the kids and grandkids over. Now it’s so quiet in this house, I can hear a pin drop.”
It’s common for many of us, seniors included, to feel some sadness or emptiness after the “Hallmark moments” of the December holidays are over. The sudden dip in social contact and return to everyday routines can make winter seem long indeed. What I’ve encouraged families to do is to plan some fun events for the next several months, so that there is something to look forward to. This is especially important for seniors who have been socially isolated because of the pandemic. Even a phone call or text to check in can help ease loneliness.
“My granddaughter came up with an idea that sounds like fun,” Sarah told me, after she’d had a phone conversation with her 10-year-old grandchild, Rose. “She said she learned in school that the first Saturday of every month is called National Play Outside Day, and that we should celebrate it by meeting at the park and going for a nature walk, or doing something else. Even if the weather is cold, it’s good to get outside for fresh air.”
“That sounds like a great idea,” I said. As Sarah’s care manager, I knew Sarah’s family well. Sarah and her granddaughter Rose had a wonderful bond, but they hadn’t spent as much time together as they used to in the past year due to the pandemic.
“Well, we missed the first Saturday of January,” Sarah went on. “But that’s okay, we’re going to start next weekend. Also, Rose said that February is National Bake for Family Fun Month. So I’m going to teach Rose how to make red velvet cupcakes for Valentine’s Day!”
Sarah and I Googled other fun “celebrations” coming up, from National Popcorn Lovers Day in March to National Walking Day in April.
“We’re going to plan something at least once a month, and Rose is getting a kick out of planning what we can do for each theme,” Sarah said. “I’m really looking forward to it.”
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