While many of us look forward to the twinkling lights and festive spirit of the holiday season, your senior loved ones might feel stressed and anxious this time of year. Seniors can often feel left out and alone during what is supposed to be a season of coming together. These feelings can stem from a wide variety of reasons, such as:
- Distance from loved ones
- Loss of family and friends
- Declining health
- Loss of holiday traditions
- Lack of inclusion
Supporting your loved ones and navigating this time of year can be challenging for family caregivers. To help, we put together a few tips to support the seniors in your life this holiday season.
Tips for Reducing Holiday Stress for Seniors
Have a Travel Plan
Travel during the holiday season can be stressful, regardless of age. This is especially true for seniors who have limited mobility and might be unable to drive themselves. To help support your loved one, consider taking care of their holiday travel arrangements ahead of time. Many seniors may find traveling—even short distances—to be challenging, so create a plan to determine how to transport your loved one back and forth. If the distance is drivable, consider sending over a younger family member to transport them. This provides a great bonding opportunity and a chance for them to create cherished memories.
Keep Dietary Restrictions in Mind
Many seniors have restrictive diets they must maintain to stay in good health. While a classic holiday ham with mashed potatoes might sound tempting, your elderly family member might have to stay clear of the sodium and carbs. Just as you might do for a vegetarian family member, consider taking the time to cook food your loved one can safely enjoy.
Family Traditions and Holiday Activities for Seniors
Every family has some favorite winter activities or traditions that highlight the spirit of the season. Holiday traditions and activities are a great way to engage older family members and honor the past in a joyful way. Maybe your loved one’s family always played Dreidel or drove around to see holiday lights, or perhaps they have a favorite Christmas movie they like to watch every year.
We encourage you to think of things you fondly remember doing with your loved one while you were growing up and encourage them to join in on the family festivities.
Reduce Holiday Financial Stress
Holiday spending can quickly deplete your bank account, and seniors are no exception. While your senior loved one may want to participate in gift-giving, their budget might not allow it. Depending on your financial situation, consider helping them purchase gifts or give them inexpensive ideas to pass out. You could also work with them to create handmade crafts in lieu of gifts so that they can still feel a part of the festivities.
Keep Your Loved One Involved
Even if you’re worried that your loved one can’t contribute to holiday festivities due to physical or memory challenges, try to keep them involved. It’s important to engage with them and feel included in whatever way they are capable.
If they have trouble being active with the group, take some time to engage with them. We recommend bringing old photobooks or mementos to reminisce on the past with them.
Take Time to Enjoy the Moment
Despite health or memory changes, your family members can still enjoy the holidays in their own way. It’s important to not let your anxiety take away from your time together and the opportunity to enjoy the holidays.
While you may worry about your loved one’s age, declining health, or memory loss, this is the perfect time to just enjoy the time you have with them.
Enjoy the Holiday Magic
This time of year can be particularly challenging for seniors, whether due to physical limitations or feelings of isolation. There’s no denying that celebrating holidays with an older loved one can be emotional and maybe even stressful. Consider reaching out to your elderly neighbors, friends, or family members, and extend a helping hand. Whether you can assist with holiday preparations or share a festive meal, they are sure to appreciate spending quality time together. Small gestures of kindness can go a long way in brightening the holiday spirit for our seniors, fostering a sense of connection and reminding them that they are cherished members of your family or community.
Like the holidays, finding the right senior healthcare provider can be challenging. If your loved one needs help finding the right senior primary care, you can turn to SeniorSelect. SeniorSelect offers a wide array of senior healthcare services in a comforting environment. Our holistic approach to senior care and commitment to quality goes beyond that of a traditional primary care office. Don’t wait to get the healthcare you deserve, schedule a tour or give us a call at 614-741-8285 to speak with one of our exceptional team members today.