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The Ombudsman's Report for December 2023

The Ombudsman's Report for December 2023 - "Remember Our Seniors This Holiday Season"

By Kathleen Heren, Rhode Island's Long-Term Care Ombudsman

Probate Rhode Island
Kathleen Heren

As another year winds down, I would like to take a moment to reflect on the holiday season and festivities that we are all exposed to, either within our families and circle of friends or through the media, where the expectation is that everyone is smiling, happy; surrounded by loved ones.

The holiday season is a time of celebration – a time to enjoy the company of loved ones, many of whom we may not have seen in a long time. It is, of course, also a time when we can draw on our faith, whatever denomination that may be. However, for many people, especially older adults, it may also be a time that brings back memories, happy and sad, but often these memories can lead to loneliness as we ponder holidays past.

Without wishing to be a “Grinch,” I would like to ask everyone reading this issue of the Senior Digest, to please take a moment and think about any family, friends, or neighbors who may be alone during the holiday season, especially those who are living in a skilled nursing or assisted living facility. If you can find time, consider reaching out to them, asking them how they are, and taking the time to listen to them. To lift another person’s spirit, often all it takes is a smile and a hello – it only takes a minute. Sometimes, we can be surrounded by people yet feel lonely as we watch others bustling about their business, and we get lost in memories of our loved ones who may no longer be with us, which can feel immensely lonely.

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Holidays can be lonely for seniors

If you live alone and would like some company during the holidays, consider reaching out to your local Senior Center. Senior Centers can provide a sense of community and are a great place to meet other people, many of whom live in your neighborhood. Many centers also provide a wide variety of other services such as meals, transportation, activities, and assistance with community-based services and supports, many of which are either free or low cost.

As I reflect on this past year, I want to take time to say thank you to everyone who reads this column.

On behalf of myself and my staff, I wish you a safe and peaceful New Year!


Kathleen Heren

Rhode Island State Long Term Care Ombudsman

Office of the RI State Long Term Care Ombudsman Program

Alliance for Better Long Term Care Inc

422 Post Road Suite 204

Warwick, RI 02888


As the Rhode Island State Long Term Care Ombudsman, Ms. Heren shares her expertise by providing a monthly guest blog to Connelly Law Offices, Ltd. In these blogs, she delves into various issues and topics that she encounters in her role. The insights and opinions expressed in these blogs are solely those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the views or opinions of Attorney RJ Connelly III or any of the employees at Connelly Law Offices, Ltd.

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Please note that the information provided in this blog is not intended to and should not be construed as legal, financial, or medical advice. The content, materials, and information presented in this blog are solely for general informational purposes and may not be the most up-to-date information available regarding legal, financial, or medical matters. This blog may also contain links to other third-party websites that are included for the convenience of the reader or user. Please note that Connelly Law Offices, Ltd. does not necessarily recommend or endorse the contents of such third-party sites. If you have any particular legal matters, financial concerns, or medical issues, we strongly advise you to consult your attorney, professional fiduciary advisor, or medical provider.

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