As Christmas approaches it becomes more important than ever to find ways to involve your ageing loved ones into your family celebrations, and help them to enjoy this special time. It’s not easy though – Christmas is a busy time: from work wind-ups, to Christmas card writing, and gift buying; this time of year can easily turn into a series of hectic tasks to be ticked off an endless list. But perhaps we should all try a little harder to put time onto that list? Time for our family, time for our friends, time to reflect on the people who are important to us, rather than good old-fashioned traditions of eating, drinking and being merry?
Every year it’s estimated that thousands of senior Australians are alone at Christmas. There are no definitive figures for Australia, but in the UK, anything between a quarter and half a million elderly people are forgotten about on Christmas Day. It becomes ever more important to remember our older citizens at such a special time, particularly because of what it symbolises: birth, life, joy, family, and celebration. No one should be left out at this time.
It’s not just for their enjoyment and sense of involvement, that we should remember our ageing family members: this is also a time to create memories for the whole family. For ourselves, for our children, and their grandchildren, the act of uniting the entire extended family is a life lesson in love and celebration. Knowing that you have found a place for every member of your family, from the oldest to the youngest, at your Christmas table, or on the sofa where they can quietly sit and soak up the busy, joyful atmosphere, in their twilight years, will be something that you will recall with pleasure in later years. But it will also be something special for the children of the gathering to reflect on and learn from. By showing that you care for your elders, and treasure their presence at important events, your children and your grandchildren will inherit your values and grow into kind and caring adults.
The best gift you can give your ageing loved ones this Christmas is a place at your table and time with their family.