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With stores putting out holiday decorations well before Halloween, it is hard to avoid the hype surrounding the holiday season.For most people, it is an anticipated time of year with traditions, memories and family gatherings. But for older residents, these same reasons may result in the blues, making the holidays a challenging time. Sometimes beloved traditions and family gatherings become out of reach as we age and may be isolated from friends and families. Holidays may remind us of the passing of time, who is missing in our lives and who is not nearby. The loss of holiday traditions and gatherings often changes the way we feel about the holidays. Sometimes reminiscing on traditions that have gone can fuel feelings of loneliness.An AARP study found that 31% of respondents felt lonely during the holiday season. Additionally, another 41% worried about a family member or friend feeling lonesome. Whats more, more than 12 million Americans over age 65 live alone, according to the American Psychological Association. As children grow up and move away, neighborhoods change, and friends pass, the opportunities for close connections sometimes become limited. Financial constraints and loss of independence and mobility can change looking forward to the holidays to dreading them. To help avoid the holiday blues, here are some steps you can take to restore holiday joy. Find new ways to connect, such as video chat and email. Write letters, cards and call. You do not have to wait for family members to reach out. Take initiative. Connecting with others is one of the best ways to relieve loneliness. It is heathy to feel sadness about missing family and friends. It is important to acknowledge your feelings. Volunteer and help others. If you are able, you can help with daily tasks that may seem overwhelming or share a meal. If you are feeling lonely, maybe your neighbor is, too. Being available for someone else is good medicine. Be kind to yourself. Continue your wellness routines and healthy habits. Rethink how you do things this season. Joy is not limited to the last two months of the year! Every day can be treated as a holiday! Consider trying a new activity or hobby or teach someone something you are good at. Limit screen time. A constant diet of bad news creates anxiety. Resolve to make the best of the holidays but adjust your expectations and adopt realistic goals. While the holidays may look different over time, they can still be meaningful. The most important thing to make someone feel special this season is to simply spend time with them. If you cannot participate in person, FaceTime or Zoom also work.Here are other ways you can help others (and yourself) find joy in the holidays and help banish the holiday blues: Share your traditions with others and enjoy theirs. Reflect about past holidays as you unpack cherished decorations. Listen to the stories of others and ask about special pieces. Make a conscious effort to be available for those who might be feeling isolated. Plan a regular call or visit or reach out with a video call or old-fashioned letter. For anyone who might be struggling with holiday loneliness, provide a comfortable space for them to talk. Save judgments or problem solving and simply have a genuine conversation. As you plan your celebrations, look for ways to be inclusive. Extending an invitation may not be enough to make others feel included. Being with a crowd of strangers who have little in common can still feel very lonely. Being recognized and honored goes a long way in combating loneliness. Be open to asking about and including favorite memories such as treasured decorations, traditional treats and meaningful music. Religious organizations often offer extra social and/or spiritual support. Just talking with someone can go a long way. Bring or send familiar treats that represent holiday customs for elders to enjoy and share. Often, holiday blues are temporary. However, if symptoms last for more than two weeks, they can indicate clinical anxiety or depression. According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), socially isolated older adults are at higher risk for depression.It may be time to seek help if you or someone you love is experiencing any of these common symptoms of depression: Feeling so down you cannot shake it off Too little or too much sleep, or interruptions through the night Changes in appetite; eating more or less than usual Difficulty concentrating Lack of interest in the things that typically make you happy Irritability Lack of interest in socializing or engaging with others. Plan to look for and spread cheer this season, but if the holiday blues linger well beyond the season, discuss your symptoms with your primary care provider.ABOUT THE AUTHOR Courtney L. Whitt, Ph.D. is Director of Behavioral Health at Healthcare Network, which offers behavioral health services as a routine part of comprehensive care and traditional counseling services. Healthcare Network provides quality primary care services for children and adults in locations throughout Collier County. To learn more or make an appointment, please call 239.658.3000 or visit HealthcareSWFL.org.
In an age where technology is rapidly shaping our daily lives, its important to recognize that the benefits of digital innovation are not limited to a specific generation. Seniors are often overlooked in the fast-paced world of app development and technology. However, seniors are starting to discover the advantages of convenience apps designed to enhance their lives.These applications have the power to simplify tasks, increase access to essential services, and improve seniors independence. In this article, we will explore a range of convenience apps tailored to the unique needs and preferences of seniors, shedding light on the digital tools that are helping them lead more comfortable, connected, and fulfilling lives.Best Multifunctional Apps for Seniors A number of multifunctional apps have emerged as helpful tools for seniors. These tools offer a wide array of benefits that can enhance seniors daily lives. They also empower seniors to maintain their independence, especially if they are aging in place. Below are some of these useful multifunctional apps for seniors.GoGoGrandparentPhoto credit: GoGo GrandparentGoGoGrandparent is an over-the-phone service that helps seniors access apps for transportation, groceries, meals, medication delivery, household chores, and more. This service screens and monitors services from Uber, Instacart, DoorDash, and other companies to ensure the senior gets their needs met. With this tool, seniors can schedule rides, get groceries and meals delivered, hire someone to do household tasks, and have their prescriptions delivered straight to their home. For a senior who has difficulty driving or moving around, these services can be invaluable. By calling the phone number no smartphone required the senior can select the service they are looking for, and GoGoGrandparent will coordinate the request. An operator is available at all times to help the senior if they need it.There are different GoGoGrandparent membership packages available depending on how often the senior wishes to use the service. The most basic plan best for occasional usage is $10.39 a month. There are also three other plans available with increasing levels of services.Life360Photo credit: Life 360Life360 is the #1 family locator app and safety membership. In fact, 1 in 9 families use Life360 in the U.S. This app allows families to track one anothers locations along with location histories, arrival alerts, and emergency dispatch. It also provides driving safety services with crash detection and roadside assistance. This type of service is helpful for all families to have peace of mind about everyones safety. It is especially beneficial for seniors whose families may worry about their whereabouts, safety, and location. Google HomePhoto credit: Google HomeThe Google Home system and its accompanying app have proven to be immensely helpful tools for seniors by making everyday tasks more accessible and convenient. Through voice commands, seniors can effortlessly set reminders for medication, appointments, or important events, and access a wealth of information, from weather updates to news headlines. The app, which can be installed on smartphones or tablets, provides an intuitive interface for managing various aspects of their Google Home devices. Whether its adjusting thermostat settings, playing music, or making hands-free phone calls, Google Home offers seniors an accessible and user-friendly way to stay connected and manage their environment. This ultimately contributes to a greater sense of independence and comfort in their daily lives.Amazon AlexaPhoto credit: Amazon AlexaThe Amazon Alexa and the accompanying app are a virtual assistant technology that simplifies seniors daily routines and enhances their quality of life. With voice-activated commands, seniors can effortlessly control smart devices, set reminders, and access a plethora of information. From playing music to providing health tips, the Amazon Alexa helps seniors maintain their independence while enjoying the convenience of a voice-activated digital assistant.Ride Hailing Apps for SeniorsRide-hailing apps have emerged as lifelines for seniors who no longer drive or do not have easy access to transportation. These apps offer a user-friendly and convenient way to secure reliable rides to medical appointments, social gatherings, or everyday errands. For seniors, this newfound mobility can significantly enhance their quality of life. Having a mode of transportation helps seniors access the essential services they need, and allows them to stay connected to friends and family. Socializing is key for seniors mental and physical well-being, and having access to transportation helps make that possible. Below are some apps seniors can use to find reliable transportation.Uber and Uber AssistPhoto credit: Phone ArenaUber is one of the most well-known ride sharing apps. It can be found in every state in the US along with 10,000 cities in 72 countries around the world. In 2021, Uber reported having approximately 100,000 drivers in the state of Florida. Seniors can enter their desired destination, and an Uber driver will come pick them up and bring them where they want to go.One tool for seniors who need more help is Uber Assist. This rideshare program provides special assistance for people who might need extra assistance, including those who are older, less mobile, or have disabilities. Drivers for Uber Assist have been specially trained on helping these riders into vehicles and loading and unloading assistive devices. Seniors can access Uber Assist in the regular Uber app, as long as the service is available in the area. After entering the desired destination, simply select Assist at the bottom of the screen. This service is also available for caregivers and family members who request a ride for a senior. And, you can even schedule an Uber Assist ride in advance on the app. Uber Assist is currently available in 40 cities. Lyft and LivelyPhoto credit: LyftLyft is another major ridesharing app. Lyft works the same as Uber people can input their desired destinations, and a car will pick them up and bring them where they wish to go. Lyft is available in all 50 states as well as 72 countries. They also offer discounted rides for low-income families and seniors to access healthy food through their Lyft Up program. Lyft has partnered with Lively to create a service just for seniors who have Jitterbug phones. Seniors can simply dial 0 on their Jitterbug phone to be connected with an operator who will schedule a ride for them. This service is available anywhere Lyft operates.Grocery and Meal Delivery Apps for SeniorsGrocery and meal delivery apps can be life changing for seniors, ensuring they have access to fresh food and prepared meals without the challenges of in-person shopping or cooking. These apps allow seniors to conveniently browse, select, and order groceries or meals from the comfort of their own homes. With doorstep delivery, seniors no longer need to worry about transportation or navigating busy stores, which can be particularly taxing for some. In fact, seniors are using food delivery services at record-breaking rates. A recent study found that in 2020, 1 in 4 seniors ordered groceries or food delivery.This technology not only simplifies seniors daily routines but also contributes to their overall well-being, offering a lifeline for those who may have limited mobility or want to avoid crowded public spaces. Food delivery tools are another way seniors can maintain their independence and quality of life. Below are some of the most prominent.InstacartPhoto credit: InstacartInstacart is a grocery delivery service that allows you to shop from your favorite grocery stores with your computer or mobile device. Simply add items to your cart and schedule your preferred delivery time, which can be as fast an hour, or even several days in advance. Then, a shopper will gather your items and deliver them straight to your door.Instacart even has a special Senior Support Service for customers over age 60. With this service, Instacart specialists help customers who may need additional assistance to set up their accounts and place grocery orders. The Senior Support Line is available in the U.S. and Canada at 18449813433, daily from 8 a.m.-11 p.m. ET. Amazon Prime and Whole Foods deliveryPhoto credit: Food Business NewsWith over 200 million members, Amazon Prime has become an exceedingly popular service. Amazon Prime is a great tool for seniors to get household items delivered straight to their home. They can even schedule the items for repeat delivery so they never need to worry about reordering items. One useful feature that comes with Amazon Prime is Whole Foods delivery. For $9.95, Amazon Prime members in select regions can order Whole Foods groceries via Amazon.com or the Amazon app, and schedule them for same-day or next-day delivery to their home. Customers can also order Whole Foods groceries for curbside pickup at no additional cost. Grocery pickup is available at 500 Whole Foods stores in the US.UberEatsPhoto credit: UberEatsFor seniors who are already familiar with the Uber app, UberEats can be a great way to have meals delivered from their favorite restaurants. The companys food-delivery platform is similar to its rideshare platform, which can be helpful to streamline the experience for seniors. DoorDashPhoto credit: AllrecipesDoorDash is widely considered the most popular food delivery service in the US. Available in about 7,000 cities, DoorDash delivers food from more than 300,000 restaurants. It also saves your previous orders to make it easy for seniors to reorder from their favorite spots.GrubhubPhoto credit: GrubhubGrubhub delivers to about 8,000 cities in the US. In Florida, Grubhub delivers groceries and household items from about 260 restaurants and stores. The platform works the same way as UberEats or DoorDash, but some believe GrubHub has a wider selection of restaurants to choose from. Health Apps for SeniorsApps related to health and wellness are another beneficial technology for senior citizens. By enhancing health awareness and accessibility to care, health apps are valuable assets that enable seniors to maintain their health as they age. Below are some popular apps for senior health.MediSafePhoto credit: BridgingAppsMediSafe is the #1 rated pill reminder app by pharmacists and physicians. The app keeps track of your medications, reminds you when to take them, and tracks when you have or have not taken them. It also provides drug interaction warnings if they occur. And, it can alert seniors caregivers of missed doses.Medication management can be a challenge for some seniors, especially those who are experiencing memory difficulties. An app like MediSafe helps seniors keep track of their pills and prevent the dangers that can come with mismanaging medication.GoodRXPhoto credit: Medcity NewsThe GoodRX app and website provide coupons that can save customers up to 80% on their prescriptions. This service also allows customers to compare prices of prescriptions across 70,000 U.S. pharmacies. In Florida alone, there are over 1,300 pharmacies that accept GoodRx coupons and discounts. Overall, this service is a helpful resource for seniors to save money on necessary medications, which can quickly get expensive.ConclusionWhether seniors are aging at home or in a Florida assisted living community, convenience apps have proven to be invaluable tools for improving independence and quality of life. By making everyday tasks more accessible and efficient, these apps empower seniors to lead more full, connected lives, while also providing peace of mind to their loved ones. As technology continues to advance, the positive impact of convenience apps for seniors will continue to increase, creating a more inclusive and supportive digital landscape for our senior community.Need more senior guidance?Navigating the challenges that come with aging can be difficult. If you or a loved one could use no-cost guidance on finding the best senior living and care, give Florida Senior Consulting a call at (800) 969-7176.We help seniors find their perfect senior living communities, and we help with every step of the process along the way! Touring, packing, moving, unpacking, settling in we help with it ALL!Visit FloridaSeniorConsulting.com to learn more.
When your friend is grieving, you want to do everything you can to be there for them and support them during this difficult time. But you may wonder are you overstepping? What if you say the wrong thing? Its common to second guess ourselves when we have the best intentions for supporting a friend after a loss.Grief is something we all experience at some point, but without some guidance, it can be difficult to know how to best support someone when theyve lost a loved one, said Erin Smith of The Terraces at Bonita Springs, a senior living community in Bonita Springs, FloridaWere starting a group for widows in our community called The Terraces Vita Nova Social Club. This will be a space where people in our local community who have lost their significant other have an opportunity to connect and socialize through new friendships, Erin continued.Vita Nova gives members the opportunity to talk about their experiences, their challenges, and enjoy the shared support of the people around them. The group will also focus on moving forward and finding joy in the next chapter of their lives through engaging gatherings and new friendships.Vita Nova aims to provide ladies with a space where they feel encouraged to venture away from isolated homes to spend an afternoon with others who have gone through a similar experience.As a friend, keep these simple ways in mind so that you can be there for a grieving friend.1. Reach Out to Your FriendReach out with a phone call or a text message to express your condolences. This small action lets them know youre there for them and will support them through this difficult time. Remember to keep reaching out, even after the initial wave of loss has settled.2. ListenYou may be with your friend when they feel like they want to vent about their emotions or talk about their loved one. A study examining grief support showed that allowing the grieving person to discuss their loved one and not rush them through their feelings felt emotionally supported.One key thing to remember is to not advise or interrupt your friend. Simply listening and letting them get anything they want off their chest can be a huge help to their grieving process.3. Validate Their FeelingsWhen your friend is discussing how theyre feeling, its important to validate them. While grief is a process, its not always a straightforward process. Your friend may have had a good couple of weeks, only to feel their grief all over again. Being there to validate their feelings and that its okay for them not to be okay can provide them with comfort and assurance.4. Show UpShowing up is one of the best ways to support your grieving friend.You cook a meal, drop it off to them, and its ready to go in the oven.You stop by with groceries.You take their dog for a walk or mow the lawn.Often, when you say, Let me know if I can do anything for you, your friend may not feel comfortable reaching out and asking. By showing up with a plan, you can alleviate some of the most difficult parts of going through the grieving process keeping up with everything else.Use the phrase Id love it if youd allow me to to increase the odds of them accepting your assistance without shame.5. Help Your Friend Find SupportWhile there are many ways you can support your friend, they may benefit from other types of support as well. A support group for people who have experienced loss, like your friend, can help them connect with others and hear from others who are further along in the grieving process. They may not be ready for quite some time, but gently remind them that they may find comfort in like-minded individuals.6. Plan an ActivityWhen your friend is going through the grieving process, some days or times of the week may be particularly difficult. For example, the demands of the workweek and running a house may keep your friend occupied Monday through Friday, but they struggle with Saturdays.Taking them out for coffee, to walk around a farmers market, or to their favorite restaurant can give them something to look forward to and get through the more difficult days.7. Keep in TouchMany people may be in touch with your friend immediately following their loss. However, when life starts to get back to normal, those people may stop reaching out. Keeping in touch with your friend will show them that youre there for them and available to give them support during the grieving process.Get Support at The Terraces at Bonita SpringsNavigating the loss of a loved one isnt something you should have to face alone. Fortunately, at The Terraces at Bonita Springs, youll have friends and associates to hold your hand and help. Give us a call at 239-949-7848 to learn more about our groups dedicated to those who have experienced the loss of a significant partner.
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