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



Not everyone is fortunate enough to be surrounded by family for a holiday celebration. In fact, for many people, holidays are dreaded seasons of loneliness and despair. Think for a moment about those who are already alone year long. For them, an approaching holiday only underscores the stark reality of their ”loneliness.”

The truth is that tens of thousands of seniors either have no living family members or have family who live too far away to visit and connect with. Many of these seniors end up feeling abandoned by children or grandchildren and consequently, succumb to despair, depression, even thoughts of suicide.

In fact, family counselors claim that they frequently shoulder their heaviest caseloads during the holidays because so many men and women are catapulted into crisis caused by memories of loved ones from the past. So how can we brighten the holidays for lonely seniors?

I would urge anyone who is reading this column to reach out to an older person in some way. It doesn’t necessarily mean we should invite them over a meal. For example, we might consider arranging for them to enjoy a zoom visit with their family and serving as a stand-by “engineer” who will run the computer. Often, just hearing, seeing and talking to children and grandchildren warms the heart with healing comfort.

By spreading joy and cheer in your own special way, whether it’s baking banana bread or delivering a colorful poinsettia to someone who is alone in later life, we invite profound and unexpected blessings into our own midst. And by extending love to someone struggling to overcome the sadness of holiday blues because they are suffering the recent loss of a loved one, we give the greatest gift of all – friendship, compassion and an open heart. Some people just need a caring listener.

May we all experience new ways to spread love throughout the holiday season by honoring the safety and needs of others, which includes checking on the welfare of friends or neighbors who live by themselves.

“One of the most important things you can do on this earth is to let people know they are not alone.” Shannon L. Alder.

{Jan Fowler is the recipient of the Golden halo award for outstanding Literary achievement from the Southern California Motion Picture Council.}

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