Supporting Older Adults During the Holidays: Tip 4

Written by Camila Dos Santos, Program Coordinator of the Healthy Relationships Initiative & Heather Magill, Elder Justice Specialist Coordinator at the Guilford County Family Justice Center

Older adults can experience the negative consequences of feelings of loneliness and isolation at any point in the year, but during the holidays, it becomes especially important for loved ones to be aware of the signs that an older adult may not be coping well with the holiday season. 

When someone is experiencing negative feelings, such as sadness, isolation, and/or loneliness, there sometimes are physical symptoms of their emotions.  Being aware of these signs can help loved ones recognize a problem early on and find ways to intervene in a healthy and supportive way. 

Some signs that an older adult in your life is not coping well with loneliness can include increased feelings of restlessness or anxiousness, body aches and pains, getting sick more frequently, and expressing feelings of self-doubt or hopelessness. 

Other signs can include withdrawing from loved ones, extreme amounts of time spent digesting media, such as binge-watching TV shows, decreased appetite, and problems sleeping or falling asleep (read more here). 

Check out this article for more warning signs of loneliness in seniors.