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Enjoying people’s company on Christmas

Seniors on Christmas in Minchinbury
Seniors on Christmas in Minchinbury

SENIOR MOMENTS BY JAIME K PIMENTEL -THE OLDER  I get, the more I look forward to Christmas. It’s not about jingle bells or all that jazz about lanterns, Christmas trees, and the hustle and bustle in every conceivable shop touting for presents.

It’s not even about going to Midnight Mass or feasting on turkey and lobster as I always do.

The older I get, the more I look forward to company. You see, the older I get the less I get to meet family and friends old and new.

The greatest fear of old folks like me, especially those of us in their very twilight years, is isolation: a realization that one is no longer a major contributor to society and therefore better left to pasture, to be welcomed again every Christmas.

Thank God for Christmas, in more ways than one.

This is not my way of complaining because I am one of the luckier old geezers in the joint. I think I have learned to break away from the shackles of isolation by seeking the company of family, friends and work associates. Whether or not they like my company.

Moreover, I still have my dear wife to keep me company. The idea is to look after the welfare of numero uno.

Author and artist Sarah J Sevenson makes some interesting points in her blog, ‘Senior Isolation That Will Stun You’.

Ms Stevenson says in part:

“While living alone does not inevitably lead to social isolation, it is certainly a predisposing factor. Yet another important consideration is how often seniors engage in social activities.

“Social contacts tend to decrease as we age for a variety of reasons, including retirement, the death of friends and family, or lack of mobility. 

“Regardless of the causes of senior isolation, the consequences can be alarming and even harmful. Even perceived social isolation – the feeling that you are lonely – is a struggle for many older people. 

“Fortunately, the past couple of decades have seen increasing research into the risks, causes, and prevention of loneliness in seniors.”

Ms Stevenson lists the facts about senior isolation to help us old folks stay informed:

* Senior isolation increases the risk of mortality.

* Feelings of loneliness can negatively affect both physical and mental health.

* Perceived loneliness contributes to cognitive decline and risk of dementia.

* Social isolation in seniors is linked to long-term illness.

* Loneliness in seniors is a major risk factor for depression.

* Loneliness causes high blood pressure.

* Socially isolated seniors are more pessimistic about the future.

* Transportation challenges can lead to social isolation.

* Loneliness can be contagious.

* Volunteering can reduce social isolation and loneliness in seniors.

* Feeling isolated? Take a class.

* Technology can help senior isolation – but not always.

* Physical activity reduces senior isolation.

“Senior isolation is neither inevitable nor irreversible,”Ms Stevenson says. “Getting the facts can help us prevent loneliness in our senior loved ones as they face the life changes of aging.”

So okay, sige nga, you old geezers. Don’t just sit there. Let’s go out and about and make life-changing activities to avoid isolation.

And have another happy Christmas with family, friends and old enemies.