Worried that she and her fellow retirees would be spending the holiday season alone, one 86-year-old widow recently took matters into her own hands, renting out an entire pub and extending an open invitation to the older residents of Ottery St Mary in Devon, England for a free, pre-Christmas lunch.
"Usually I send money to charities at Christmas," said the former schoolteacher, according to an article in The Telegraph. "But rather than do that this year I thought about something local."
The woman, a former schoolteacher whose husband passed away 12 years ago, asked to remain anonymous. She can't travel to visit far-flung family members, and as an only child with no children of her own, she's had firsthand experience with the crushing loneliness that many older adults experience during the holidays.
So, she decided to take matters into her own hands, reserving the entire, 50-top, "Lamb and Flag" pub for a turkey lunch on December 23rd. She doesn't know who will accept the invitation, but the fact doesn't seem to faze her. "When I get down there I shall probably see faces I shall recognize, but I have no idea who will be there and why," she said.
The estimated personal expense of the woman's generosity is expected to be about $1,500—which includes a full meal and two bottles of wine for each table. But the value of helping 50 older adults avoid spending Christmas alone with a can of soup? Priceless.
It's no secret that the season of cheer can be less-than-joyful for older adults and their caregivers and, regrettably, not every town has an anonymous benefactor who is willing to shell out money to make sure older adults aren't on their own during the holidays.
But there are actions you can take to make the holidays merry for your loved ones. The following articles, written by your fellow caregivers, offer tips on how to successfully celebrate the holiday season with your family: