Understanding and Lifting the After-Holiday Let-Down–6 Tips

      The After-Christmas Let-Down
Holiday Window

WHAT HAPPENS AFTER AN EVENT TAKES PLACE
THAT WE’VE BEEN…. 

 …anticipating–hearing about well in advance? We are left with the emotional residue–wonderful or not so wonderful, depending. No matter the event, it happens (present tense). Then it’s over. Ended. Done.

The day (and week) after Christmas.  The media’s holiday focus on family togetherness, generating warm fuzzy feelings and a celebratory spirit aimed at making people feel good, ends. The media then calls attention to the past, generating pleasant or unpleasant memories; we are encouraged to improve ourselves by making New Year’s resolutions. Isn’t it easy to see how the end of the holidays can intensify feelings of emptiness and of loneliness in seniors living alone? And the fact that it’s winter, and it’s colder, and it gets dark earlier doesn’t help.

Can adult children elevate that let down feeling? “Yes,” according to our senior advisors, who offer 4 suggestions (I’ve added the 5th and 6th):

  • “Stay in close contact with elders–aunts, uncles. Make sure they’re not forgotten or feeling abandoned.”
  • Make a phone call; it doesn’t need to be a visit. I had a wonderful phone call from a far-away living relative recently. You know, older people prefer phone calls instead of emails.”
  • “Take older people out to something, but take them to something that is rather quiet, that isn’t too taxing an experience.” 
  •  “Make a plan for the future so there’s something to look forward to.” Sr. Advisor, R, calls that “a carrot,” and says it keeps her going.
  • When old people receive new technology (eg. an iPad) that fosters keeping in touch, contact them often through that technology at the beginning. Older people need the practice (often again and again) in order to feel comfortable with new technology. Also you will quickly discover if they need more instruction. 

I remember the advice given me by a priest I interviewed for my divorce book years ago. He emphasized the importance of touching base on a regular basis with people we care about– whether or not they are facing challenges or need us in their lives.

To this end, he wrote on his calendar at regular intervals “phone so-and-so,” putting in names and telephone numbers. He said it was the only way he could be certain of regularly continuing the connections.

It’s rarely lack of caring that prevents us from doing something additional on a regular basis. More likely we just get busy and forget. So…I guess we need to take out our new calendars or whatever technology we use; put in a few names and numbers of our older, living-alone friends and family; then make at least one phone call before New Year’s Eve.

Note: “Newsworthy” (right sidebar). Links to timely information and research from top universities and respected professionals, plus some practical stuff to help parents age well.

Related articles

One thought on “Understanding and Lifting the After-Holiday Let-Down–6 Tips

  1. At 76 I’m definitely “older” but may not be old enough to qualify as “aged” just yet, which may be why I’m not so sure that older people prefer phone calls to email. While the volume of email can sometimes be overwhelming, especially if one still receives work-related as well as personal messages, I enjoy reading and responding to personal email. The fact that I’ve always liked to write more than I like to talk may explain my preference (however, I may not be alone in this).

Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s