OH! Magazine - Australian Version December 2018 - Page 13

3 TIPS TO SUPPORT SENIORS THIS CHRISTMAS Esha Oberoi explains how you can make this season bright for older adults in your community. is the season to be jolly… but sadly, for many Christmas can be a lonely time and a painful reminder of loved ones lost. Our most vulnerable – the elderly – are at greatest risk of experiencing loneliness at this time, whether it’s because they’ve lost a spouse, moved away from family, or their social circles are shrinking. Mental and physical deterioration can also lead to less family visits, reduced mobility and greater isolation. T Founder and CEO of aged and disability care provider Afea Care Services, Esha Oberoi shares three easy ways to support seniors this holiday season. 1. Start a conversation Whether you’re passing someone on the street or checking in on your next door neighbour, people often just need someone who is willing to ask and listen. When I was suffering from depression, it was alarming how few people actually stopped to ask if I was okay when I looked sad! I think people are afraid to ask the hard questions because they aren’t sure how to respond if the response is that they are having a hard time, which is why initiatives like ‘R U OK? Day’ are a great conversation- starter. Taking the time to ask how people are and really listening to them, can go a long way in reminding someone that they aren’t alone. 2. If you know someone elderly who has limited mobility – help with festive tasks You can support seniors by helping them write Christmas cards, hang decorations, cook, shop for presents and generally by bringing Christmas to them if they aren’t able to do these things for themselves. If you’re making a festive dinner, invite them over or make an extra portion to share. Small gestures help spread the holiday spirit. 3. Volunteer with a local charity A new study on loneliness in Australia found that over 40 per cent of elderly in aged care facilities don’t receive visitors! A great way to support the elderly at Christmas is to volunteer at a local nursing home or even call to find out what they might need. If you have kids, bring them along too and watch how people’s faces light up! There are many ways you can lend a hand and make a difference. Esha Oberoi Esha is the founder and CEO of care provider Afea Care Services. At the age of 24 years, Esha set out to redefine the experiences of our ageing community and her efforts have since been recognised when she was named the winner of the 2014 Indian Executive Club Award, and a finalist in the 2014 Telstra Young Business Awards. For more information visit www.afea.com.au OH! MAGAZINE ( DECEMBER 2018 ) 13