ATLANTA — The holidays are a special and joyous time to be with family and friends. But for scores of metro Atlanta seniors with families far away, facing the holidays alone can turn joy to depression.

11Alive took an inside look at the importance of community and how it can brighten the season. It's a problem is one that has impacted Joenn Sause of the Central DeKalb Senior Center directly.

“This has happened to me for several years and it’s a very sad and lonely time,” she said. “It’s very sad. A lot of crying went on when I was by myself.”

She's not alone. Senior Beverly Miller found herself in the same situation.

“I’m lonely and I feel like I wish they would invite me to join them because I am a people person," she said. "So, for a while, I didn’t have a place to go during the season and its lonely,” she said.

RELATED: Senior Source: Brighten up the holidays for a lonely senior

But there is a solution that binds the senior community together. Seniors being alone for the holidays does not have to be an option.

Centers like the Central DeKalb Senior Center offer more than 60 programs to more than 190 seniors every day - and most importantly it takes away the loneliness.

Programs at senior centers like Central DeKalb range from dance and exercise; to language instruction, creative art and jewelry making.

And Central DeKalb Center Manager Victoria Kingsland said it clearly works.

“Isolation is really the most challenging part of growing old and if you sit at home by yourself and you really don’t have any reason to get up and go, your life can take a sad turn," she said. "Central DeKalb Center exists to address that one issue."

It's a belief shared by Atlanta Regional Commission's Liane Levetan.

“Don't be lonely because you don’t have to be," she said. "You have senior programs all over the state that you can be a part of, and I say not a member, be a part of.”

Thousands of seniors are doing just that.

Learn more about the Central DeKalb Senior Center and how to reach them on their website.


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