Reaching Out to Others

Jan Fowler

is author of the best-selling book, “Hot Chocolate for Seniors”(winner of national & international awards); winner of Gold Halo Award from the So. California Motion Picture Council for Outstanding Literary Achievement; winner of First Place Excellence in Journalism Award (SPJ –Southern CA); Town & Gown “Phenomenal Woman” Award; former television host & KSPA radio host of “Senior Living at its Best with Jan Fowler”; speaker, contributing author for “Savvy Women Revving Up for Success”; founder of Starburst Inspirations, Inc. 501(c) (3) nonprofit which supports Redlands Drug Court. Jan welcomes feedback and comments about her columns and invites you to leave her a message on her website.

Reaching Out to Others

By Jan Fowler

We often think of Thanksgiving as a season of love and cheer, but for many it’s a time of loneliness and social isolation.  While most of us look forward to sharing holiday celebrations with family and cherished friends, not everyone is that fortunate.

So if you happen to be among those who will be alone this Thanksgiving, although you may feel alone, millions of others report being in the same boat.

Sometimes people dread the holidays because they’re reminded of lost loved ones so they plan a trip to a fun destination because it helps them escape the feelings of sorrow which might otherwise overcome them if they stayed home.

So if you happen to be dreading a feeling loneliness this holiday season, I’d encourage you to take the initiative yourself to arrange a joint celebration with friends, neighbors, students, and perhaps fellow workers.  People will love you for giving them something to look forward to.

One of the best ways to broach the subject with others is to just ask directly, “What are you doing for Thanksgiving?”, because they’ll probably respond by asking you the same question.  To which you could reply, “I haven’t made any plans yet.  Would you like to get together?”

You might even decide to take it a step further by inviting someone over to your own home to share a meal or holiday cheer.  Bear in mind that there are many people who might not invite you to their house because they don’t feel they have enough space, but they would gladly accept an invitation to come to your home.

It’s extremely important to try your best to keep a positive attitude to beat off those holiday blues.  And in case you’d be willing to host a luncheon or dinner at your home, potlucks are just wonderful because they not only take the back-breaking strain off giant food preparations (plus expenses), but your guests may very well welcome the distraction of having to prepare or buy a food dish to bring.

And if none of the above works out, instead of staying at home brooding, I’d urge you to seek out an opportunity to help serve disadvantaged people by volunteering to work at a Salvation Army kitchen, helping to cook, serve, or deliver food to those who are poor, ill, or low on resources.  David and I have served food at the Salvation Army several years in a row now, and have found it extremely gratifying.

It’s easy to withdraw if we don’t have an invitation to a holiday dinner, but there’s always someone less fortunate than us whom we can be a blessing to.

And if nothing else, there are numerous patients in hospitals and nursing homes who would love to have a visitor stop in and offer to talk, sing, or read to them, not to mention just sitting beside them so they’re not sitting alone.

It never fails, but whenever I reach out and try to brighten someone else’s day, I always end up brightening my own day as well.  And I know most of you would agree that it’s also the same with you.  Sending special holiday blessings to everyone.



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