The holidays are a special time of year and a wonderful moment for family and friends to come together and celebrate. Seniors who are dealing with mobility issues, who live alone, or who are suffering from Alzheimer’s, dementia, or depression, may begin to feel isolated during the holidays.
On the other side, the holidays may bring a change of routine and potentially strenuous travel, which may be difficult for some of our elderly loved ones.
With the holiday season in full swing, we have 5 Tips to help Seniors celebrate and Stay Safe during all the festivities:
Embrace holiday-themed activities. If your loved one has memory challenges, holiday -themed activites for seniorscan a great way to connect. Try going through photo albums or making a holiday craft. Even something as simple as decorating holiday cards or playing a board game can prove to be a fun activity.
Make sure your home is accessible. For older family members who might be visiting, it’s important to make sure your home is as safe as possible and mitigate fall risks for seniors. Avoid hazards like area rugs and consider using nightlights to make hallways more navigable in the dark. If you have children or pets, make sure their toys are picked up and put away. It might be best to have your senior sleep on the first floor, close to the bathroom, so they can avoid going up and down the stairs.
Cook a special (and healthy) meal. Luckily, holiday meals don’t have to be bad for you. Keep in mind any dietary restrictions your senior might have and start from there. With quick and easy main dishes like lean turkey and sides like sweet potatoes, which are rich in fiber and vitamin C, dinner does not have to be complicated. Try getting your senior into the holiday spirit by helping them dress up for dinner and by inviting friends and family to join in.
Don’t overexert your loved one. Although the holidays can be busy, make sure there’s enough room in the schedule for some quiet downtime. Traveling can be especially exhausting, so if your senior is traveling to visit, they might need to rest once they arrive. Consider playing some soft holiday music, complete with your senior’s favorite songs.
Go out for a drive. Cold weather might make you feel like staying indoors, but if the opportunity arises, consider going out for a drive. Whether you and your senior choose to look at holiday lights or go to an event, make sure you don’t plan back-to-back activities or interrupt their usual schedule.
Stay Hydrated. Drinking water is one way you can stay healthy during the holidays. “Senior citizens, especially, need to drink plenty of fluids, as not drinking enough water could cause hospitalization,” Fuchs says. To make it easier to stay hydrated, have water easily accessible at home and keep bottled water in a purse or bag when running errands.
Decrease gifts. For many seniors, especially those on a fixed income, the holidays can be a financial challenge due to purchasing gifts for many family members. To reduce stress from paying for gifts, consider having a family grab bag, where everyone contributes one gift.
CONTENT CREDIT: Care.come, Aging In Place