FREDERICTON (GNB) – The holiday season is a joyous time for many people, but it can be difficult for others, especially seniors.

That is why Families and Children Minister Stephen Horsman is encouraging people to reach out to someone who may be alone.

“During the festive season, let us make sure everyone has someone to share the holidays with,” said Horsman.

If you are busy with activities during the holidays, try these simple things to help others who may suffer from social isolation:

  • Invite someone that you know might not have family nearby to your dinner table or holiday festivities.
  • If you can, facilitate transportation. Sometimes accessibility is the biggest barrier to joining activities.
  • Take time to visit family members who are living alone or in care facilities. While you are there, maybe pack along an extra flower or gift you can give to another resident you think could use some company. If you have time, sit with them too.
  • If you cannot go visit family members or friends who may be feeling alone, call them or video chat with them.
  • Listen. If you hear someone say they are lonely, or if they look like they need some company, make a point of helping. You can connect with them yourself – this could be as simple as dropping off a card to them unexpectedly the next time you are around – or let their friends or caretakers know so they can include this person in activities or offer suggestions on groups they can join.
  • Promote a sense of purpose. Encourage hobbies and integrate seniors into activities such as reading to youth or knitting scarves for those in need. Ask them for help with your projects and set time aside to work on it together.

If you are feeling lonely this season, there are ways you can connect:

  • Look for programs at your local community centre. They have activities for all ages and interests.
  • Check for social groups that meet near your neighbourhood. These could be book clubs, craft clubs, or other groups that just like to get together.
  • Volunteer for a charity. You will meet other volunteers who are also there to make a difference, and the people you help will be thankful for your support.
  • Invite people to spend time with you, or ask to tag along with a friend. Let someone know you want to spend time with them.