When we think of the holiday season, we think of beautiful lighting displays, homemade cooking, spending quality time with the ones we love by the fire, and wearing fuzzy socks. The holiday season is jolly and festive, but it is also a very busy and stressful time of year. From balancing time with the children who are home on winter vacation to holiday preparations, it can get overwhelming to provide care for the elderly. We imagine the holiday season to be a time of delight, the joy of giving, receiving and celebration, but the elderly may have a different perspective.
The holidays, for seniors, can contribute to feelings of depression or isolation in a majority of older adults. They may also feel loneliness from a loss of a loved one. Keep in mind that while the holiday season is a special time to gather with the family and celebrate, it can be rather difficult for the elderly who may have lost a loved one or even reminisce about the past that used to be. A lot of seniors face painful memories of the past especially during the holidays.
Their lives have changed and are not what they used to be. The aging body comes with many health risks, causing pain and discomfort for seniors. The holidays have become less fun than they used to be. Stress takes over due to inability to shop, visit family members, and enjoy the holiday season. If hosting large gatherings, make sure your elderly loved ones are comfortable being around a large group of people, and monitor their behaviors. Make sure to be considerate of their needs.
Seniors unfortunately face isolation and depression, but during the holiday season, their feelings may be more severe than usual. Many factors play a role, including losing loved ones, being away from family, not enough engagement and social interaction, and mobility or health risks. Those who live in assisted living facilities or nursing homes may feel discomfort and may lack holiday spirit.
How to Improve Holidays for Seniors
Visit family often, and let those people who matter the most know how much you love them. If you are unable to visit, set up a video chat by Facetime, Zoom, or Skype, or simply make a phone call. Make the first move, and call them first! You could also send a letter in the mail. A little goes a long way, and this small gesture will mean so much to them.
Engage in social activities with the elderly. Don’t let a loved one lack human interaction or remain isolated and lonely. Make sure to provide support and care for those in need, and ask often how they are feeling. In most cases, seniors neglect their depression and may avoid seeking help. Show that you appreciate them and are by their side. The holidays shouldn’t be a time of the blues but, instead, a time of cheer, joy, and celebration.
There are numerous activities one can do to get out of the holiday funk. If you find yourself feeling off, remember the good that comes during the holidays. Think about the good memories that were shared during the years with your favorite people.
Activities to Get into the Holiday Spirit
- Bake cookies
- Watch holiday movies
- Make crafts
- Get together with family to decorate the home
- Listen to holiday music
- Go for a holiday light tour
- Play Christmas song bingo
- Make hot cocoa from scratch
- Look at family photos
Simply spending time with senior loved ones is the key to keeping them feeling loved. Find meaningful ways to assure that seniors are healthy, not just physically, but mentally also. Keep in touch, and check up on those close to you during the holidays and also when the holidays come to an end. It is more important than ever to stay connected throughout the season and in between holidays and special events. Help older loved ones experience joy again during this wonderful time of year and make the holidays for seniors more special. There are a lot of ways you are able to show love and appreciation this holiday season!
At AnswerCare. our goal is to help older adults live happily and safely at home during all seasons of the year. Our compassionate caregivers are available to provide personal care assistance, including companionship, meal preparation, and transportation to holiday events. In addition to caring for aging loved ones, we also provide respite for family caregivers any time of the year. Contact us at 855.213.1511 to learn more about our home care in Canton and the surrounding areas.