If you have an older friend or family member, you can help them enjoy the holidays more by following these simple tips:
- Memories – The holidays can be depressing for some elders because their memories aren’t as good as they used to be. We suggest showing your grandmother or great uncle pictures from old family albums, videos from weddings and Christmas parties they attended in the past, and music they used to enjoy during the Christmas season to help stimulate their memories. Encourage them to tell the grandchildren stories from past holidays.
- Planning – If your grandfather or great grandmother gets tired very easily or becomes overwhelmed by a lot of activities, then it’s important to limit the number of events and parties they attend. That’s why planning ahead is crucial in helping them enjoy the holiday season. Encourage them to get plenty of rest during the holidays and not to overdo it.
- No Obstacles – If a Christmas party is being held at the home of a senior with memory issues, please don’t rearrange the furniture or move too many items around in the home. This can confuse them and cause them a lot of anxiety. If you take your senior loved one to a holiday event outside of the home, please remove slippery rugs or other items that could cause them to trip and fall.
- Embarrassing Moments – If your elder family member or friend has problems remembering, please avoid making comments that would embarrass them. If they don’t recall something or repeat themselves often, please don’t say “we’ve already heard that story” or “you don’t remember?”
- Include Everyone – It’s a good idea to involve the whole family in the planning and preparation of the holiday events. Break down the tasks and have the younger as well as the older family members participate in activities. For example, older adults in the family can fold napkins, help fill out Christmas cards, and sing carols.
- New Memories – Help your senior loved one create new holiday memories. Take them to church on Christmas Eve and invite the entire family as well as their friends to join, encourage them to go with you when you volunteer at a community holiday event, take them Christmas caroling, let them help you decorate the house and tree, and take them on a ride of the neighborhood so they can enjoy all the holiday lights and decorations.
- Check on Them – If your senior family member or friend lives alone, please check on them often during the holidays, take them to church, take them to visit other family members, include them in all of your holiday events and parties, reach out to them and let them know how important they are to you and the entire family, and always keep a positive attitude when you are around them.
- Alcohol and Medications – Monitor their alcohol and medication intake during the holiday season. Make sure they stay on schedule with taking their prescribed medicines and pay attention to how much alcohol they consume at parties. Alcohol can make depression worse so it’s important they don’t drink too much especially if they experience the blues during this time of the year.
Sometimes the holidays can get so busy that’s it’s easy to forget about the needs of the older adults in our lives. It’s important that we spend time we them and consider their feelings. Remember that the holiday season can be a difficult time for them and it’s important to be sensitive to that and plan in advance.
For more advice on how to help your senior loved one during the Christmas season or if you want to visit one of our assisted living homes, please contact Unlimited Care Cottages today.