The saying in 12-Step programs such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) is that alcoholism is a three-fold disease: physical, mental, and spiritual. The only-half-kidding joke is that alcoholism is a different kind of three-fold disease: Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s.
The holidays can be a particularly stressful time for nursing home residents as their celebrations have often changed significantly from those in the past. The loss of family members, the inability to get around independently, and the lack of opportunity and funds to shop for gifts can take their toll on residents who may have had trouble with the holidays even before they entered the nursing home.
In case you haven’t been persuaded by my previous arguments for holding AA meetings in nursing homes, there are also telephone meetings available to residents for the cost of a phone call. Callers can listen in or share their stories if they wish, in an anonymous environment.
Below are links to the telephone meeting lists of several 12-Step programs:
Al-Anon (for family and friends of alcoholics)
Dr. Barbera is an author and a licensed psychologist consulting in long-term care facilities in the New York City area. She frequently lectures on subjects related to psychology, aging, and nursing homes. Dr. Barbera is available for private consulting with organizations, institutions, and individuals around eldercare issues. Visit her personal blog at www.mybetternursinghome.blogspot.com .