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Agency On Aging Director Reminds Residents To Remember Elderly

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
Agency On Aging Director Reminds Residents To Remember Elderly

At least 44 percent of senior citizens feel lonely during the Christmas season.

Agency on Aging & Disability Director Holly Williams said it’s important that each of us remember our elderly neighbors as Christmas draws near.
Williams said it can help to encourage seniors close to you to be more social.

“I think first and foremost, having a thoughtful and gentle approach about the topic is very important,” Williams said. “Emphasize the positive impact of socializing on their well-being. Try to identity activities that really align with their particular interests.”

Williams said the Upper Cumberland is blessed with senior centers in most counties. She said encouraging your elderly loved ones to go to the local senior center provides them with social experiences they desperately need.

“Most of the senior centers offer a meal,” Williams said. “For anyone that’s aged 60 and above, they can go to the senior center and participate in a lunch-time meal that is at no cost to them. Eating a meal with others yields so many benefits itself not just for seniors but of anyone of any age.”

Williams said senior centers offer special events this time of year and provide an opportunity for people to spend time with the elderly in an environment they are comfortable in.

On December 18, the Cookeville Senior Center will be having a Christmas party with Highland Rim students caroling at 10:30am. The Algood Senior Center will be giving Christmas gifts to under-served children throughout the holidays.

“There’s a lot of inter-generational activities going on during the holidays at the senior centers,” Williams said. “Those who do not maybe have grandchildren of their own being able to participate in these activities at the senior center and being around those children can bring a lot of joy and again going back to the point of how their presence can bring joy to others, and the wisdom they can share with those children is so valuable.”

Williams said some seniors may at first be resistant to socializing, but bare with them because it is an important factor to their health.

“Social isolation and loneliness can lead to so many serious other health risks,” Williams said. “It’s really beneficial to emphasize the importance of that. A lot of time it can just be a small gesture like a simple phone call or quick visit to brighten their day and make them feel appreciated.”

Williams said simple gestures can make all the difference.

“So many of the older adults in our area in particular, because we are a rural aream really have difficulty with transportation,” Williams said. “It might just be offering some transportation assistance to them.”


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