Posted on Nov 05, 2012
Can we be honest for a minute? Some parts of the holidays are wonderful… but we’d be kidding ourselves if we didn’t admit that other parts can be a little stressful. If you love planning and organizing, the logistics of pulling off a family get-together can be exhilarating. If you don’t, however, your stress level may be firing on all cylinders! I remember as a child being so excited around the holidays, looking forward to seeing all our elderly relatives that we only saw at holiday times. In the same way, being surrounded by loved ones can provide comfort, peace and festive holiday energy it can also bring with it the challenge of looking out for the aging members of your family. That was what really made my Mother stressed. The holidays change when you factor in caring for an elderly relative, but often planning ahead can lend itself to everyone enjoying the holiday together and keeping stress to a minimum. Here are a few tips you can share with your family in preparation for the holidays this year:
Be inclusive- Everyone likes to participate in family get togethers. Make sure you are including elderly family members in the planning and preparation. You may feel that you are being kind not having seniors have to do any of the “work” but they actually want to feel that they bring value and are a necessary part of the activity. If they have physical limitations ask them to do something simple like washing the vegetables or organizing the decorations. Make sure they are included.
Plan ahead- Remember many elderly relatives are no longer use to the noise and confusion a get together can bring. They are use to their quiet home. Over stimulation can make seniors overwhelmed, irritated and exhausted. Make sure you offer them a quiet place to take a break from all the activity. Assign someone to be their companion and check on them throughout the day. Be available to take them home when they are ready. Don’t be upset with them if they ask to leave; it might just be too much.
Eliminate Obstacles- If you are hosting a holiday event and expecting elderly family members and friends, look to see if there are any obstacles that might make walking difficult. Remove slippery throw rugs and don’t forget the ones in the bathroom!
Medication- During all the activity during the holiday’s seniors may forget to take their medication. If you have an elderly family member visiting your home offer gentle reminders about taking medications at appropriate times. If you are picking up or dropping off a senior at their home at an unusual hour, remind them not to forget their medication that day.
Enjoy a Walk down Memory Lane- Take the time to reminisce during the holidays. Seniors love to share old memories and family traditions. Ask questions to learn more. You can learn more about yourself through their stories. Be a good listener and sensitive to your loved ones age.
Remember we are also always here when you need us. If you have an elderly relative that has been needing help getting their holiday shopping done we would be happy to assist. We can help address holiday cards, decorate a loved one’s home, wrap packages, take that extra holiday trip to the post office or assist with many of the other things you may be asked to assist with when you’re already overwhelmed.