Helping Aging Loved Ones Make the Most of the Holidays
Bring Cheer to Year-End Holidays
For elderly individuals holidays can be very difficult. After all, holidays hold a special place in our hearts. They are a time of year when we get together with friends and family to share warmth and joy. Sadly, many seniors may feel Isolated, depressed or discouraged during the holiday season.
It is not uncommon for elderly populations to feel emotionally impacted by:
- Memories of lost loved ones
- Feelings of Isolation
- Lack of purpose
- Depression over the loss of independence, health, cognition
Emotions can run high during the holiday season. At Griswold Home Care for Atlanta, we’ve observed withdrawal, discouragement and even anger in our clients. We’ve also witnessed the emotional upsides of showering elders with TLC when the holiday season comes around. Spreading holiday cheer can boost morale, improving both immediate mood and overall outlook on life.
If you’re concerned an elderly loved one you know is feeling left out, Griswold Home Care’s caregivers can help act as a surrogate friend, son or daughter when you can’t physically be there. There are many ways to help seniors better cope with the holidays. We’re here to share some helpful tips to ensure your aging loved ones feel cherished and appreciated!
How to Comfort Elders During the Holidays
There are many ways to brighten the holidays for your aging loved ones. First and foremost, find ways to visit them more often – whether they live at home or in a senior living community. One way to say “I love you” is to bring small gifts and reminders of the season. Consider showing up with decorations, snacks, photo albums or personal heirlooms. You can also help decorate their home, set up a Christmas tree, string lights, play holiday music, or turn on a movie channel with holiday favorites.
Plan fun and engaging outings if your loved one is healthy and mobile enough to leave their home. Not only is it a change to their daily routine, but it is likely to encourage conversations and reminiscing that may not have happened visiting in the home.
Some simple holiday-themed activities we recommend include:
- Touring Christmas lights and decorations
- Shopping at local department stores or malls
- Attending live holiday-themed shows/events (i.e., a ballet rendition of The Nutcracker, a theatrical performance of A Christmas Carol, and Christmas movies)
- Going out for holiday brunches/dinners
- Attending church services
Whatever you do, remain empathetic, considerate, and upbeat. Try to avoid confrontation and negative interactions. Holiday festivities and dinners are not the time to discuss hygiene issues, exercise, and eating habits. Though you may observe areas that need to be addressed, save those for after the holidays.
Instead of potentially touchy subjects, try to find ways to walk down memory lane. Spark conversations about years past or dig into old photo albums. Finally, it can be fun to incorporate children and grandchildren into the festivities. Grandparents love to watch their grandchildren taking charge of activities. It is a healthy and heartwarming reminder that their lineage and legacy will endure and thrive.
How to Connect Remotely to Elders During the Holidays
It is not always possible to be physically present for loved ones. Modern trends, economic conditions, and travel conveniences have led to fragmented families – with members living in different cities, states, and countries. As a result, more and more elders find themselves aging alone.
There are many ways to meaningfully connect with an aging loved one who lives far away. We recommend:
- Calling or video chatting via Zoom, Teams, FaceTime, etc.
- Encouraging friends and relatives who live nearby to drop in on them, or even invite them to holiday events if they are able
- Sending thoughtful and frequent care packages
- Encouraging socialization
Once again, stay positive and try to find ways to encourage interaction and discourse. Plan your conversations in advance - think of engaging topics or online activities when meeting virtually. You can play digital card games and board games while interacting over video chat. Some apps and platforms allow individuals to watch movies together remotely. Get creative and make your online interaction a memorable one!
The Importance of Evaluating Your Loved One’s Health & Well-Being
Good morale and psychological well-being are integral contributors to improving longevity. You can give seniors a sense of purpose by including them in holiday festivities. At the same time, use the time you spend together to observe their health and cognitive status. Note whether your aging loved one is stable, declining, optimistic, or depressed. Look for trending changes and consider how they might impact your loved one in the near and intermediate timeframe. Seek advice from professionals as needed and have a plan to address issues that are likely to arise before you visit again.
Here are a few specific things to consider:
- Take note of whether your elders are managing to live independently
- Inspect the refrigerator and cupboards for spoiled food items
- Examine their home for defective appliances or maintenance needs
- Evaluate their mobility and overall health
- Observe their driving skills, if they still drive
- Try to get a sense of whether the bills are getting paid (careful – this one is a potential minefield)
- Gauge their social interaction – civic groups, friends, church services
- Scan the surroundings for safety issues. Consider rearranging furniture or adding accessories to aid with declining mobility. In some circumstances, removing obstacles and debris can help a loved one avoid a fall, accident, and injury.
Changes to the items above may indicate a declining ability to live independently. Further, loss of independence and lack of socialization may lead to depression and discouragement. Be prepared to engage or find local organizations that can assist to help keep your loved ones safe and happy in their homes.
No one should have to feel excessively sad and lonely – whatever the season! If your aging loved one shows signs of fatigue, weariness, or struggle, consider hiring a professional to assist with daily tasks, or simply provide companionship. Fortunately, our caregivers are ready to be of service year-round. We will help mitigate risks, perform household chores, assist with activities of daily living, transportation and encourage them to live their most active and happy life. Our team is compassionate, skilled, experienced, and eager to assist.
Ready to book a professional caregiver? Call (404) 567-5208 today!
If you or an aging loved one are considering non-medical in-home care in Atlanta, GA, call Griswold Home Care
and speak to one of our caring staff members today. Call (404) 567-5208