Not every senior person is lucky enough, in this ever-expanding world, to have all their family members living close by. It’s not always easy for their children who live far away – in another town or state, or even in another country – to make it home for Christmas. Many senior Australians emigrated here decades ago, leaving their extended family in distant lands, so very often, all they have are their children and grandchildren to rely on. And when those children and grandchildren decide to travel, too? They are left to fend for themselves, and perhaps even reinvent Christmas in their twilight years.
Of course, some senior Australian citizens can think of nothing better than staying home and enjoying a peaceful Christmas doing all the things they enjoy – Christmas carols on the wireless, a nice glass of sherry, and a time to reflect and reminisce.
However, that’s not the case for everyone. Traditionally, Christmas is a time to gather, be with loved ones, laugh. So how can those of our seniors who have no family achieve this? We can help them as good neighbours and old friends. With a sense of charity and citizenship, we can reach out to the elderly people in our neighbourhood. We all have someone – a “Granny Margaret across the road”, or an “Old Dorothy next door” – who could do with a little extra company or a chat over the garden fence from time to time. So why not drop in on them over the festive period to give them a card with a kind message, or spend just a few minutes on Christmas morning, chatting with them? For an elderly person, that few minutes may be just enough to keep them going all season!
As grown-up children, far from home, a simple act of kindness to a neighbour may help to soften the pain of being unable to spend time with our own elderly parents at Christmas, and in return, we can hope that others are doing the same for us.