The holiday season can be a challenging time for everyone. For some with young families, the juggling of busy work schedules becomes a balancing act. There are increased economic demands associated with the purchase of gifts and the increased personal demands of family visits. For many it is the classic example of what used to be labeled as “positive stress.” Of course, there is also a darker side. For some, the holidays become a reminder of losses or of other not-so-positive but equally significant events. And while many people have increased social contacts over the holiday season, others experience just the opposite and feel simply increasingly isolated and disconnected.

Fortunately, in a world of sometimes seemingly relentless interpersonal conflict, the holiday season is also a time when we are encouraged to remember how we should behave toward each other.

All of us know someone who may be struggling this season. While it could be anyone, older adults sometimes face particular challenges during the holidays. It could be someone who has recently experienced a significant loss, or who is known to go through emotional upheaval during this time of year. It could be an older person living alone a few houses down whose friends have long since passed on, or whose family is not local or able to visit. When everyone else is enjoying seeing family, it can be a sad reminder for those who have outlived family or whose families are simply not able to do so.

Seniors may have some particular vulnerabilities during the holidays. But they can also have particulars joys. They have lifetimes of memories that can be shared and holiday survival skills that can be taught. It’s a good time of year for people to seek out contact with the seniors they know and see which it might be. Weld County Area Agency on Aging and United Way of Weld County are working together to identify the top priority needs of Weld County’s older adults. This partnership will better address collaborative approaches for helping our most vulnerable residents.

If you know of any seniors who have particular needs, here are some resources that could be helpful.

  • The Weld County Area Agency on Aging provides tasty lunches at 23 locations throughout Weld County where seniors can get together and have conversation while they dine. (970) 400-6132
  • United Way of Weld County 2-1-1 Information and Referral service provides requests for information and referrals to help older adults with their safety and well-being. Call 2-1-1 or click here  
  • Qualified Listeners are veterans providing support and listening services to other senior veterans and family members. http://www.qualifiedlisteners.org/directory-locations/
  • Catholic Charities provides free assistance to seniors through case management by connecting to community resources. (970) 353-6433
  • Meals on Wheels provides hot home delivered meals to seniors who may be unable to leave the house or prepare a meal. (970) 353-9738
  • North Range Behavioral Health provides counseling services to seniors coping with emotional or mental stresses which may include depression, isolation or loss of a loved one. (970) 347-2120

If you fail to narrow down what inspires you during the holidays, you can start with a simple gesture. It takes less than 10 minutes to drop by and check on your neighbor, give a “hello” or make that phone call you may have put off all year. In this age of fast moving technology, people long for real human interaction. Take time to personalize the holidays for those around you.

Hillary Chambers is the community resources coordinator for Weld County Area Agency on Aging, a community partner of United Way of Weld County.