The National Council on Aging has started this holiday campaign and is reporting the sad statistic that half of the older women in the United States are struggling to meet their basic financial needs. Women are particularly vulnerable because they are the ones who stay home to take care of their families or take time off to take care of their parents. This effects the amount of Social Security and pension benefits women are able to accumulate in a lifetime. Add to that the loss of financial support due to divorce, job loss, or death and illness of a spouse.
AARP has a campaign as well to help financially strapped seniors and a link to help people determine what benefit programs they are eligible for.
AARP Foundation helps provide assistance to seniors with food, housing and income assistance.
This holiday, donate to NCOA to support grandmas in need. A $1 donation to NCOA can connect a struggling grandma with $60 in benefits to pay for daily needs.
Here we are swiftly heading toward Hanukkah and Christmas. I don’t get as caught up in the holiday celebrations so much lately. Why is that? I think my way of wanting to celebrate has changed. I realize that I celebrated the holidays for my kids when they were living at home. I still like to make Thanksgiving. I really like Thanksgiving. I think it engenders feelings of family warmth and togetherness for me more than the other holidays.
Now it is just me and my husband here in the house. The empty nest. Both of our kids are adults and making their own lives. We will be seeing them and spending time with them which is very nice. They both have their own ways of celebrating with their partners.
I don’t feel like decorating the house. It seems like house decorating could be rated on a scale. Some people really go all out and have their yards and houses covered with decorations and lights. I imagine the interior of their houses might look like a holiday craft magazine layout. Then on the other end of the scale is me. No outside lights or decorations and nothing on the inside of the house as of now. I noticed there are other neighbors who do not put up lights outside as well. I wonder if it has to do with religious differences.
My husband did not grow up with Christmas celebrations in his home or lights outside so he does not care and does not miss anything if I choose not to decorate. My son and daughter-in-law do have a Christmas tree and my daughter usually doesn’t for environmental reasons. We all do exchange small gifts.
I don’t feel like making anything for Hanukkah either. We will probably light the menorah. We usually go to my son’s or to one of my sister-in-laws for Hanukkah gatherings.
My grinchy-ness could be that I don’t feel the need to decorate my house and make so many preparations in the past few years because my family has grown up. Now I can take a break and enjoy being the guest at their houses.
I know I am fortunate that my kids are not too far away. My son lives nearby and my daughter is in the same state. We will be seeing both of them over the holidays. There are people who do not have families or their kids close by and that has got to be hard for them or they could be estranged.
If you have an empty nest it may be that the holiday celebrations have shifted to your kids homes as well. Or if your kids are too far away how have you decided to celebrate the holidays?
This is a happy story I found on PBS. I think it fits in with the season. During the Berlin Airlift of 1948 an American Air Force pilot was on a sweet mission. He dropped little handkerchief parachutes with candy for the children of West Berlin. Here is a little video clip of him from PBS via You Tube:
Tom Brokaw did a video with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir about The Candy Bomber. Here it is:
I think it fits with the holiday season no matter what religion or non-religion we are. It is nice to think about goodness in the world. It does exist. What do you think? I think I would like to focus on the goodness in the world leading up to Hanukkah and the Christmas season.