The holiday season is a happy, festive time for families to get together. But seniors sometimes find this time of year stressful and lonely. Holidays should be a time of joy for seniors too, so here are a few suggestions about how you can contribute to making their holidays merry and bright:
Take a trip down memory lane. Seniors have a lifetime of memories and love to recall happy, special times. Even if you have heard a story numerous times, listen anyway and remember that this is a very important way for them to connect with you. Try sharing “remember when” stories – they’ll warm the hearts of not just seniors but everyone present.
Take breaks. Noise and commotion are probably a big part of every family’s festivities, but they can cause feelings of irritation to senior loved ones. Make sure there is a quiet space where they can relax and have the opportunity for one-on-one conversations with family members. It is also important to be mindful of the music you are playing at your family gathering. Find something light-hearted that will stimulate positive emotions and relaxation.
Include everyone. Many seniors experience feelings of loneliness because they cannot participate in all activities, so make sure to include them in your planning. It is important that they feel wanted and know that they can be useful. If it’s appropriate, you can have your senior loved one help you with meal preparation, even if it is as simple as peeling potatoes. Who knows, they might even pass on some family recipes!
Monitor medications. The holiday season is eventful for all of us and it can be easy for the seniors in your life to forget about their medications, confuse their schedule or even have a little too much holiday cheer! Monitor your loved ones and give them some gentle reminders to make sure they have a truly happy holiday.