For most, the holidays bring feelings of joy, anticipation and excitement. Spending time with friends and family, attending holiday gatherings and exchanging gifts all symbolize the season of goodwill.
However, not all people experience happiness during the holiday season. Close to 12 million seniors live alone. And many often struggle with grief over loss of a loved one, sadness, confusion and isolation, especially if they don’t have family close by. This can bring on the holiday blues and make it difficult for seniors to enjoy this time of year.
Whether it’s an aging parent, friend or neighbor, there are simple ways you can support a senior you know and help them enjoy the season a little more this year.
Be a Companion. Make it a point to visit and spend time with your senior loved one. Participate in an activity they love, play their favorite game or simply ask them about their life. Storytelling and memory sharing are a great way to lift a senior’s spirit and can be very important to the aging process. Let your elder share stories and explore memories by looking at old pictures, letters and newspaper articles and by listening to music. Remember to also be thoughtful. If your loved one has experienced memory loss, it can be difficult and frustrating when you are telling stories or remembering events from the past. You can also help set up Skype or Facetime so that they can visit with out-of-town family members and friends.
Be a Chef. Prepare one of their favorite holiday meals and then stay to visit and enjoy the meal with them. This can be a great way to connect. Also consider inviting them to cook with you and have fun making a favorite family holiday recipe together.
Be a Home Helper. It can be difficult for seniors to do housework, especially if they have mobility issues or other physical limitations. Helping them around the house by cleaning, de-cluttering and picking up anything on the floor that could be a tripping hazard can ensure the senior’s home is safe. Don’t forget the outside of the home as well. Raking leaves, doing yard work and getting the outdoors ready for winter can be a huge help.
Be a Chauffeur. About one in five people over the age of 65 don’t drive. Offer to take your senior loved one to doctor appointments, dental check-ups and eye exams. And accompany them to them to some of their favorite social activities, volunteer opportunities and holiday events so they feel comfortable knowing there will be someone to safely transport them…and you can spend quality time with each other.
Be Santa’s Little Elf. Help with setting up and decorating their Christmas tree. Make their home festive by decorating their main living space. Help wrap gifts and write and mail their holiday cards. You can even make holiday cookies together.
The holidays can get busy, hectic and overwhelming for all of us. It’s important to remember what the holidays are all about – a season of peace, joy and giving. And remember the aging senior in your life. Just by spending time with them, you can bring them joy and help them have a happy holiday.
FIrstLight Home Care provides many Senior Care Services – from Companion and Personal Care to Dementia and Respite Care – not just during the holidays, but anytime assistance is needed.
This article is provided by John and Christine Hamby, Owner, FirstLight Home Care of Temecula. For more information, visit us online at www.Temecula.FirstLightHomeCare.com or call us at (951) 395-0821.