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Generating Senior Holiday Spirit

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6 Tips to spread holiday cheer

reverse mortgage newsEggnog and mulled wine, a groaning table of goodies, family and friends visiting from afar, heartfelt gifts to share along with the love. That’s the Hollywood version of the holidays (perhaps because both words begin with “hol-“). But it’s often a far cry from what seniors experience at this time of year.

Even if the elders in your sphere are in good health, they may be grieving a spouse or other loved one, concerned about dwindling finances if they’re unaware of the reverse mortgage option, or remembering holidays past, when life was very different.

Here are half a dozen simple, effective ways you can enhance a senior’s quality of life during the holiday season:

  1. Reach out and connect, or reconnect. It sounds almost too basic, yet is the easiest to overlook: call or visit a senior who could use the company. This might be someone who received a reverse mortgage loan several years ago, whom you haven’t spoken with in awhile. Be sure to bring a gift relevant to the person or couple in question, such as the pecan pie you know s/he loves, or a book by an author they enjoy. A half-hour visit might be a drop in the bucket in your busy day — and could be the highlight of the senior’s week or month.
  2. Talk about the past. Exploring happy memories not only reconnects elders with who they used to be in a positive way, it actually helps brighten the brain, and can be especially useful for people with mild cognitive impairment, who may more easily recall what transpired forty years ago than what took place last week.
  3. Send humorous greetings. Do you receive email forwards of bad jokes or cute animals? Email forwards have become increasingly popular among the silver set, now that technology is second nature, even for people in their 80s and 90s. In addition to sending snail-mail cards to your current reverse mortgage clients and prospects who aren’t (yet) online, consider sending e-cards to those prospects and clients who are digitally adept. A number of sites offer e-cards both as a paid subscriber and at no cost. American Greetings offers a free trial, and 123 Greetings offers some cards for free.
  4. Host a gathering. A holiday open house is a delightful way to show appreciation for clients, potential clients, referral resources and friends. Keep it simple and hold it during daylight hours, so it’s easier for seniors to get there (many no longer drive after dark). If possible, arrange for pick-up and return for those who would like to attend but do not have transportation. Your community may offer a Paratransit bus, or senior car service. Aim to serve healthy (and denture-friendly) finger foods, so you contribute to senior nutrition  — which has an effect on mood.
  5. Volunteer. Community service is especially welcome during the holidays, when extra hands and attentive ears are greatly valued. Your local senior center, or another community group that caters to older adults, will be grateful for any time you can devote to their members. Simply showing up and listening to seniors talk for an hour is a gift.
  6. Reduce your own stress. Finally, remember that we’re all affected by one another’s emotional state — particularly seniors who may already be feeling lonely, or who may have early-stage dementia. The more you can uplift your own state of mind during this season (meditation? yoga? walks in the park? playing with your kids or your dog?), the more peace and joy you’ll be able to bring into the lives of the seniors you serve.

Happy holidays!

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3 Comments

  1. The first thing “you” can do to make your “seniors” happy is

  2. The first thing “you” can do to make your “seniors” happy is STOP CALLING THEM SENIORS! They don’t know who you are referring to in most instances these days.

    • Hello Henry ~

      I agree! I often use the term “elders” in these posts. What word(s) do you prefer?

      Here’s a blog post from a few weeks ago that suggests a number of positive ways to reframe aging and retirement: https://www.hecmworld.com/reverse-mortgage-news/reframing-retirement-seniors-fulfillment

      We’re in the process of reframing and reimagining many aspects of aging, and life in general, so please do send your suggestions. I’m happy to use whatever new terms will make sense to readers ~


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