How to Make Holidays Special for Your Senior Loved Ones
Posted on: 13 December 2017 by Tracey Clayton
With Christmas just around the corner, and so many chores to take care of, we often fail to recognize that the holiday season is a much more stressful time of year for our most elderly family members. We can help them embrace the holiday spirit once again and encourage them to join our family celebrations without hesitation!
Holidays are upon us, and for most people, this is a reason to rejoice. But, the festive time of the year is not the same for everyone. For various reasons, such as memory loss, limited mobility, and distance to their relatives, the elders may become more depressed, stressed out, lonely, and sad. Hence, it may not be an easy period for them.
On the brighter note, you can create a warm and inviting atmosphere and help them with holiday hoopla.
Keep winter sadness at bay
Holidays don’t automatically make older people feel good. In fact, many of them indeed suffer from “Holiday Blues”, which is also known as a seasonal affective disorder (SAD). This is a clinical condition that is rather similar to depression.
To alleviate it, learn to recognize the symptoms and make necessary changes. Make the magic happen in their lives and prevent them from feeling left out and depressed. After all, there are many small steps you can take that go a long way towards making holidays more enjoyable for them.
First and foremost, foster good communication. Talk to, and even more importantly, listen to your elderly loved ones. Have them open up about things that bother them. Note that they should also have a say in how they will participate in the upcoming holiday plans.
Lighten things up
Make an effort to keep their living environment bright and festive. Seasonal dress-up of the interior lightens the mood and makes them feel like a part of holiday hurly-burly. Moreover, just like everyone else, elders should indulge in delicious treats. Try to remember their favorite dishes that will turn back the wheel of time a bit and evoke pleasant memories.
Of course, it goes without saying that Christmas is a perfect opportunity to organize a nice family get-together. Listen to music and watch movies together, or enjoy any other family activity.
Furthermore, staying active as much as possible is crucial for dispersing clouds of worries and sadness. A lack of mobility makes it hard to be social and lost loved ones bring forth gloomy thoughts. And yes, the weather makes things more complicated, even for younger people. However, this isn’t the reason to give up.
So, consider going for a short walk every day or visit a Christmas market. Encourage weekly participation in events that take place at assisted care facilities or some other sort of guided social and physical goings-on.
Don’t miss a chance to enjoy a sunny day if it rolls in. In case their mobility is seriously inhibited, at least sit on a park bench and catch some fresh air. All these activities will improve both their mental and physical health.
You can go the extra mile and upgrade their lifestyle by changing their living environment. Nursing home facilities have unrightfully earned a bad reputation, but truth be told, there might be some nice alternatives. I’m talking about an environment that doesn’t make it difficult for seniors to engage in Christmas traditions they adored their whole lives.
For instance, retirement homes are a great care option for seniors, who can reap the amazing benefits of non-stop supervision, on-site medical attention, organized social activities, structured environment and individualized help with day-to-day needs.
Alternatively, opt for independent living or assisted living facilities. Just remember that these things do not replace your loving care because nothing can.
Show that love traverses distance
Even if there are thousands of miles between you, and visiting is not an option, there are certain things you can do. Sand a Christmas card and a gift. Feel free to mail photos of recent events in your life or photos of past family gatherings. Organize an in-home care or try to entice them to join a senior living community.
Finally, you can have a doctor evaluate their health situation and suggest treatment and modifications that will alleviate their pain or any other issues.
Breathe new life
Keep the holiday traditions alive and let elders take part in them. Remember that nothing makes them feel better than some quality time spent with family members and loved ones. You are the one who can make them feel special this Christmas, so do your best to do just that.
Bear in mind that they shouldn’t be over-stimulated, so find the right balance. Figure out ways to help them relax and unwind. Stir lovely memories and melt their worries away. Whatever you do, make the most of the holidays together.