By Maria Ledger – CEO, My Choice Family Care

This time of year, many of us are fortunate to be able to share the holidays with loved ones. But not everyone has an abundance of relatives and close friends, which can make December—traditionally a festive month—one of the loneliest times of the year.

According to the 2010 census, more than 25 percent of households have only one person living in them. And from 2000 to 2010, the number of single-person households increased by 4 million. Of those, approximately one-third consisted of people 65 and older.

While we all might feel stretched thin with work, shopping, decorating, and celebrating, the holidays are a time to give thanks and share your good fortune with those around you.

“Remember, time is the greatest gift you can give someone who needs a friend.”

If you know someone who will likely be alone this season, reach out to them in a caring way. Engage your neighbor in friendly conversation and ask how they’re doing. This is great advice when approaching anyone who lives alone, because it shows that someone cares.

If you can offer your assistance, suggest taking them shopping or to run errands. Your offer may not be accepted at first, as many people don’t want to put out their neighbors or are too proud to accept a helping hand, but the offer will be appreciated.

Remember, time is the greatest gift you can give someone. Invite them to bake cookies or do winter crafts with you. If they are unable to physically participate, assure them that you would enjoy sharing a cup of cocoa and some good conversation.

If your neighbor needs more help than you can provide, such as in-home care or transportation to medical appointments, contact your local Aging and Disability Resource Center, which can provide a multitude of options to help your neighbor stay at home safely.

At My Choice Family Care, we consider ourselves part of the community and want the best quality of life for everyone. Sometimes all it takes is reaching out to a neighbor and sharing your blessings with them. You’ll be glad you did.

Best wishes for a joyful holiday season!