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Hello Friends,

Happy holidays! Gosh, I can’t believe that Christmas is just a few days away. This year flew by, and I want to take a few moments to say thank you. Your continued support for Empowered Aging and our seniors has been overwhelming this year.

The holidays can be a challenging time of year, especially for seniors who may not have much family left or are far away from loved ones and are unable to travel. It’s truly an honor to provide them support, connection, and engagement through our many programs like Friendly Visiting and Telephone Reassurance, Long-Term Care Ombudsman, Elder Justice, and more. These programs wouldn’t be possible without the time and generosity of our donors and volunteers.

In this month’s newsletter, we’ll share some tips to help with holiday stress and highlight some seasonal happenings here at Empowered Aging. I hope that no matter what your plans are for the holidays, you can step back and take a moment to truly enjoy the reason for the season. Thank you again for all that you do for our seniors and our community. If you or someone you know needs support, please reach out or have them contact our team by calling 925.658.2070.

From all of us at Empowered Aging, we wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a safe and healthy New Year.

Best wishes,

Nicole Howell
Executive Director

Tips to Avoid Holiday Stress

While the holidays are usually a time of joy and cheer, that doesn’t mean they are always easy. It’s also a time when stress or even sadness can be heightened. For some, these emotions weigh heavy or may even be hard to understand. Here are some tips to help seniors, caregivers, family, and friends enjoy a more relaxing holiday season.

1. Embrace Change: Now more than ever, we’re seeing traditions and celebrations shift. It may be hard to accept that you might not be able to see loved ones who are far away or that a typical family tradition just doesn’t look the same. Nevertheless, engagement and connection are vital, and whether that’s virtual or in-person, it’s important to keep an open mind. Be willing to try new things, but more importantly, enjoy what time you have with those closest.
2. Be Mindful of YOUR Time: Many of us love a good routine, right? It helps keep us grounded and going day-to-day. Don’t lose that just because you’re hosting guests or visiting family. Let your loved ones know that you will be maintaining a set schedule for those non-negotiable things that matter most. This will help manage stress and feelings of overwhelm, making time together more enjoyable.
3. You Don’t Have to Do It All: Are you feeling pressure being the host of the big family Christmas party? Worried about stretching your budget thin to buy gifts for everyone? Don’t be afraid to let your friends and family know. Task some family members with party prep, and why not suggest grab bags or a gift exchange to help curb the cost of buying presents.
4. Celebrate Those Who Are No Longer with You: Remember, it’s okay to feel sad and miss those who are no longer with you. Look for ways to honor them by sharing memories or continuing a tradition that they loved. No matter how you commemorate those you lost, don’t do it alone. Share your emotions with the people around you.
5. It’s Okay to Say No: Simply put, you don’t need to be everywhere or do everything. You shouldn’t feel obligated to join every celebration, and loved ones will understand.
6. Find a Way to Celebrate! No matter where you are or who you are with, find a way to enjoy the season. Whether that’s streaming your favorite movie, volunteering, or meeting a friend for coffee, do something that feels fun and festive!

Despite all the demands and changes of the season, you can still enjoy this special time of year. A little flexibility, advanced planning, and an open mind will go a long way.

Need help getting connected with other resources? We are here to help. Get in touch with our team by calling 925.658.2070 or visiting for more.

Meet Su-Yin Bickner, a former MSW Intern here at Empowered Aging. Su-Yin joined us back in 2017 while completing her MSW from UC Berkeley’s Social Welfare Program.

“My goal in gaining experience with Empowered Aging was to learn more about the resources, systems, protection, and policies (or lack thereof) for older adults as they continue to age,” Su-Yin shares. As she worked with our ombudsman team, Su-Yin knew that she was on the right track for a career supporting seniors.

“My placement with Empowered Aging solidified my desire to ground my career in helping older adults age in place. Being exposed to local Board and Care Facilities and seeing the reduced quality of life for some residents re-emphasized the importance of alternate support systems for later in life.”

Now, as an Operations Manager at Ashby Village in Berkeley, Su-Yin is doing just that – supporting older adults, helping them stay active, independent, and fulfilled.

“I’m grateful to the team at Empowered Aging, especially Diane and Nicole – who made my first year MSW placement one, which was eye-opening, meaningful, and impactful!”

We’re always grateful for the opportunity to have interns like Su-Yin. Her story demonstrates how Empowered Aging is working to grow and enhance the elder care industry. Thanks to our donors, this program has become a heartbeat within our organization. If you’re interested in supporting a new generation of senior service providers, consider giving to Empowered Aging today by visiting