Expert says consider elders, shut-ins during holidays

December 1st, 2011
For most people, the holiday season is a time for celebrating, but for many, holidays can be lonely, discouraging times of isolation. Homebound elders, people with debilitating health issues, newly divided families or people who have recently lost a loved one are among the many who may feel they have little to celebrate with friends and family members.

Len Kaye, professor of social work and director of the University of Maine Center on Aging, is available to offer tips and advice to help keep elders, shut-ins and others safe, connected and engaged during the holidays.

“The holidays can bring back memories of healthier, more active, more socially enriched times in the lives of older adults and can underscore some of the harsher realities of aging including, physical decline, loss of loved ones – including family and friends – increased economic difficulty and – above all – a sense of separation or isolation from the hustle and bustle of daily life,” Kaye says.

In the case of families that have experienced death or divorce, family gatherings don’t necessarily mitigate loneliness. “Holidays can exacerbate loneliness,” he says.

Being surrounded by family or friends can even make a depressed person, young or old, feel like just a face in a crowd. In the case of a divided family, children’s loyalty to their parents can become an issue when they must decide in which home to spend a holiday.

Provided by University of Maine

This Phys.org Science News Wire page contains a press release issued by an organization mentioned above and is provided to you “as is” with little or no review from Phys.Org staff.

More news stories

Study sheds new light on why batteries go bad

A comprehensive look at how tiny particles in a lithium ion battery electrode behave shows that rapid-charging the battery and using it to do high-power, rapidly draining work may not be as damaging as researchers ...

Final pieces to the circadian clock puzzle found

Researchers at the UNC School of Medicine have discovered how two genes – Period and Cryptochrome – keep the circadian clocks in all human cells in time and in proper rhythm with the 24-hour day, as well ...

Asian monsoon much older than previously thought

The Asian monsoon already existed 40 million years ago during a period of high atmospheric carbon dioxide and warmer temperatures, reports an international research team led by a University of Arizona geoscientist.

Rules of thumb for climate change turned upside down

With a new analysis of land regions, ETH climate researcher are challenging the general climate change paradigm that dry regions are getting drier and wet regions are getting wetter. In some regions they ...

New drug blocks gene driving cancer growth

When active, the protein called Ral can drive tumor growth and metastasis in several human cancers including pancreatic, prostate, lung, colon and bladder. Unfortunately, drugs that block its activity are ...