Easy Tips to Keep in Mind This Season
The holidays can be a wonderful time of year, especially when families and friends get together to share the old times and the new. Yet for seniors, the joy of the gatherings and the season in general can be a mixed bag of eager anticipation and additional stress.
Careful Planning: Before an event begins, put yourself in your senior’s shoes. Do they have difficulty walking? Do they have trouble remembering names? Plan ahead to make easy adjustments, it will make all the difference.
Oh the Memories: Often the holidays are one of the few times of the year when younger family members can hear about days gone by. Entice seniors to share their stories and experiences through picture albums, family videos and music.
How much is too much: Many seniors live in environments that are relatively quiet, with a limited amount of activity in a day. Loud family gatherings can be a bit much, so a quiet place to sit down may be a good refuge.
Don’t Move a Thing: If a holiday get-together is held in the home of a senior with memory loss issues, don’t rearrange the furniture and other key objects. This could be a source of confusion and anxiety.
Keep away from embarrassing moments: If a senior forgets a person’s name, a place or an event don’t make it worse by saying, “Don’t you remember?” Instead guide the conversation forward, as you would for a best friend.
Car Ride: Many seniors don’t drive as much as they did, but they’d love to see the holiday decorations put up by the retail stores and over zealous neighbors.
Make Movement Easy: Is a senior coming for a visit? Remove slippery throw rugs and other items that could present barriers to a senior who has difficulty walking or balance problems.
Say Hello: For seniors it’s so important to let them know you are thinking of them during the holidays. Seniors today are of the generation that loves the simple things: a note in the mail, a phone call, or an invitation for coffee.
Share a Holiday Tradition: Have a senior share something special during the holiday season with you that is drawn from their own holiday memories. Be it a favorite cookie, decorations, arranging a centerpiece or a favorite movie or song.
And for the caregiver:
Make a New Year’s resolution: Make a resolution to spend quality time with the seniors in your life, to bring the grandchildren for more frequent visits, or to look into home or community care — to relieve some of the care giving responsibilities from yourself, and ensure the well-being of your aging family member.