The holidays are a time for family and friends. They are a time for celebrations. They are filled with happiness. But for some seniors, being with family and friends is impossible. Feelings of isolation and loneliness can set in as they remember how life once was. Below is a guide to help you better understand the seniors in your life and how you can support them during the holiday season.
Difficulties for Seniors During the Holiday Season
Loneliness and Depression: The absence of family and friends, that lack of community, can increase feelings of loneliness, depression, and isolation.
Memories of The Past: Reminiscing about the past and how different current life is, of loved ones lost, can be even more painful during the holiday season.
Missing Home: Seniors living in nursing homes or assisted living facilities can find themselves longing to be with family and traditional holiday celebrations.
Decreased Mobility: Many seniors experience physical limitations as they age. During the holidays, these limitations make shopping, visiting with friends and family, and celebrating the season more difficult.
Financial Stress: Celebrating the holidays can be expensive. For seniors on a fixed income, buying gifts and enjoying celebratory meals can put a strain on their wallet and create financial anxiety.
How to Help Your Senior Stay Positive During the Holiday Season
Connect with Loved Ones: The holidays are a special time for family and friends. Extra effort to connect and spend time together is made during the season. Make sure you are including your senior in these gatherings. Provide transportation to and from if needed. If your senior can’t join you, go visit them. If visiting in-person isn’t an option, arrange for a weekly virtual visit or phone call. Remind them how important they are to you and your family.
Open Communications: Be honest with your senior and encourage them to be honest with you. Share your feelings and have them share theirs of anxiety, loneliness, or depression. This is a difficult conversation for many seniors so look for other non-verbal clues. Check to make sure they are maintaining their living space. How is their appearance? Does it appear they are bathing and grooming themselves on a regular basis? Check in with their home health care professional.
Relieve Financial Stress: Help your senior set a realistic budget for the holidays. Help them create their lists and offer to help to take them shopping or place their online orders. Remember what’s important is the time together and the memories created and not how many presents are under the tree or how much money was spent.
Get in the Holiday Spirit: Put on your favorite holiday music, put out some of your favorite holiday decorations…or all of them, watch your favorite holiday movies, and make and eat your favorite holiday goodies.
Reminisce and Build New Memories: Talk about holidays past and how things have changed over the years. Focus on the positives and any new changes that are coming. Continue the traditions that you have all grown to love and add in new ones. If you can’t physically be together, send your senior a holiday decoration, their favorite treat, and call or virtually connect to talk about your favorite traditions.
The holiday season can be depressing due to isolation. But they don’t have to be. With some intentional planning we can make our seniors feel loved and included. Make this a season to remember.
How Professional In-Home Care Can Help
If you are unable to connect with your loved ones in Washington DC, Montgomery County, Howard and Prince George’s County, we can help.
Our licensed caregivers can provide help with the 6 activities of daily living as well as companion ship for your loved one this holiday season.
Reach out to discuss your family’s needs – contact us via our website or call 301-888-5253.
Learn more from this article When Do You Need an Aide.