It is that time of year again! The definition of Thanksgiving is Betty Crocker’s green bean casserole with Campbell’s cream of mushroom soup, turkey, mashed potatoes and lots of family gathered around the table. For some it is a relaxing and joyful affair, and for others it can be a reminder of painful relationships, losses or the general loneliness of being alone. For baby boomer women, this holiday can be especially hard with 47% of women age 65 or older living alone; an increase of 96% since 1970, and the holidays season can be especially challenging.
With so many baby boomers flying solo- why not start a “Friendsgiving tradition?” Choose a day later in the week, invite over a few friends, neighbors and colleagues – and encourage them to bring a few friends as well. Forget the china: nice paper plates will do just fine, and anyone under age 50 can sit on the floor. A typical Friendsgiving is “pot-luck” style, nothing fancy and no politics allowed. Light a few candles, open a few bottles of wine, put on some music and enjoy.
The beauty of a Friendsgiving holiday is the chance to come together with people we care about and share a lovely and long lasting meal. After all, one of the best remedies for loneliness is contact. Human beings were not meant to thrive in isolation, and the holidays can become a great excuse to engage. Friendsgiving is a great way to meet people you may only vaguely know in the neighborhood- like those folks you give a nod to on the way to and from the mailbox, or see walking the dogs.
For those concerned it may seem strange to give out an invitation after all these years -what better time! Many are probably just sitting around their televisions or iPads watching Netflix - and would be thrilled to receive an invitation to get out. With a spirit of “the more the merrier” those barriers become easier to breakdown.
Here are a few tips for a successful Friendsgiving:
- Keep it Simple - Create an easy text or email invitation to send around, nothing fancy!
- Pot Luck- Choose an item you want to make and either trust the others will bring an assortment, or create a sign-up sheet for side dishes, appetizers, main dish and desserts.
- A Messy House is a Comfortable House- Tell everyone that because they are friends and it is no longer Thanksgiving, you are not going to knock yourself out cleaning and buying fancy tablecloths. They will love you for it all the more! Cozy and casual always makes everyone feel more at home and no one notices dust at parties anyway.
Studies show that loneliness is one of the greatest health risks of our lives - and can be worse for our health than smoking, obesity or diabetes - potentially increase the chance of early death by 26%. Yikes!
Let's bring the true spirit of friendship and gratitude of Thanksgiving or "Friendsgiving" into life as often as possible. Instead of facing a "too quiet" holiday season, fill your home with sounds, footsteps, laughter and clanking dishes as often as you can. If you find you love the company, you may even decide to empty out that extra bedroom and find a housemate!
Silvernest was designed for this very purpose: to help older adults who are living alone to explore home sharing and match with compatible housemates. Not only does this help pay mounting bills with extra income, life can suddenly become lighter, easier and more fun. For some, it is a type of “Friendsgiving” every day.
Enjoy the season ~ from the staff at Silvernest.
Silvernest boldly breaks the rules of aging so you can share your home on your own terms. We’re creating the next generation of roommates. A more modern kind. A well-matched kind. A kind that’s just your style. Because around here, the details are totally up to you.