Winter and the holidays can be a time of great joy, but they can also be a time when people feel isolated and alone. As the weather cools, here are some ways you can bring warmth and joy into the lives of those around you.
Make someone’s day by doing something nice for them. Hold open a door for or pay a compliment to someone you meet in your day-to-day activities. Run an errand for a time-strapped friend. Or write a note to tell someone how much they mean to you. Here are a dozen ideas you can do in minutes.
When you’re lonely, simply having a chat or visit with someone can be a great comfort. Visit a loved one or neighbor who is isolated. Offer to get together for a game night or, if you have a friendly pet, arrange a visit with your furry friend.
If you know someone who is routinely struggling with loneliness or isolation, help them find and attend virtual events that fit their interests. Or help them find groups that may give them opportunities to socialize from a distance. For ideas, check out AARP Foundation’s Connect2Affect resources. Those who like to chat on the phone can request a Friendly Voice call in English or Spanish. Requests can be made through an online form or by calling toll-free 888-281-0145 (English) or 888-497-4108 (Spanish).
The next time you prepare dinner, make a little extra and deliver a meal to a neighbor who may appreciate some company. If you’re not able to share a meal, then look into having someone else deliver one. Help someone access Meals on Wheels or volunteer at food pantry or soup kitchen to help people get hearty meals this winter. If you suspect food insecurity is an ongoing issue with a family, you could also help them get the food assistance they need.
Keeping the heat and power on during the winter months can be difficult for some. Those who are struggling to pay their utility bills, can contact the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), which provides federally funded assistance in managing costs associated with home energy bills, energy crises, weatherization, and energy-related minor home repairs. Your municipality may also have resources for people who need help keeping their homes warm this winter.
In more extreme circumstances, like weather events or disasters, find a local shelter and research opportunities by state. FEMA can also help you find a warming station or shelter in which to volunteer. Many are set up immediately before impending storms, at libraries, police stations, senior centers, and local schools. Another way to find shelters is to text SHELTER and your zip code to 43362 (4FEMA).
Looking for more ways to give back this time of year? Visit Create the Good® online.