By Jack Cumming

Now is the time of year when we let the light of love shine forth to dispel the darkness that surrounds us. In our northern hemisphere, where most of us live, the days grow shorter until … until they reverse that trend. Now that’s something to celebrate whether it’s Christmas, or Hanukkah, or Kwanza.

The Meaning of the Season.

A wise Buddhist, Lama Rod Owens, shares that “The point of Christmas is to be in the places that need you.” We’re needed by the forgotten and lonely who live among us. We’re needed by those residents who come to holiday dinner and sit by themselves. We’re needed by our families.

Senior living fulfills needs and brings the warmth and hope of the season to many who enliven the senior communities in which they live. They may not share their innermost feelings and thoughts, but senior living workers can feel the love they give to make the holidays the time of celebration and renewal that holidays can be.

Happening Right Now.

Picture a true-life holiday story that is taking place right now. A daughter is completely exhausted. Not only is she the care manager for her two profoundly autistic adult sons, but her mother, who is 95, in remarkably good health, now needs much more assistance. Senior living, your calling, provides the answer to the daughter’s exhaustion. No one can do it all alone. For this poor woman, the best gift this year is the gift that senior living makes possible.

Still, the best gifts are the most difficult to provide. Feel the holiday glow of appreciation for the relief you bring to the overwrought and the joy you bring to those who need your help. Feel the warmth of your goodness. And, don’t neglect your own needs. The holidays remind us that we are merely human.

It’s Not Easy.

It’s not easy, but you courageously step in when others reach the end of their tether. Of course, you’ve likely already realized that the 95-year-old mother has no wish to leave her home for senior living. She just called a friend and asked to meet to discuss “this new idea,” i.e., moving to a safe haven.

The mother wanted advice. Could she stay in her home, especially if she agreed to paid help? Yes. But … she also has a moderate degree of cognitive impairment; is fall prone; and her loneliness and neediness really impact everything. She loves to say – on a daily basis – “Can you believe how well I’m doing on my own at my age?” And there is obvious pride in her voice when she says that.

You Are the Gift.

What makes your career of service particularly to be valued is that you give it selflessly. Not only do you give of yourself, not only do you spare that overtaxed daughter an unbearable burden, but you also give your gift to people, like our 95-year-old homebody, who have no idea of how many people are pitching in so she can keep the illusion that she is doing mighty well at her age.

Know that you matter. Allow yourself respite. During the holidays, give to yourself the same gift of indulgence that you give to others. Love yourself so others can love you.

Click here to learn the unexpected rewards of having a generous spirit. You are cherished.