The holidays are upon us and as we think about how to share the holiday spirit with those we love, we should make sure we don't forget the older adults in our lives. Bringing holiday cheer to the seniors we love is an important detail not to overlook this season. Help Me Help Momma, and other resources help with ideas and tips to give your Senior a better quality of life throughout the year, and during the holiday season.
This is an essential task because the holidays can be especially difficult on seniors who are remembering years past and perhaps longing for loved ones who are far away. If your loved one is near and/or you handle the day-to-day care for your Senior, you can help him or her directly. If your loved one is remote, or if you have a private duty caregiver assisting your Senior, ensure you communicate through your agency's Family Portal to get your him or her the care and attention they need this holiday season.
To keep away the winter blues, listed below are a few things you, a neighbor, or your private duty caregiver can do to help your Senior experience the joy the holiday season brings.
1. Make an effort to increase companionship
If you have an aging loved one, be sure your home care agency or you work a regular visit schedule into their elder care during the holidays. The Houston Chronicle recently noted that 43% of seniors who live alone feel lonely on a regular basis. Battling this loneliness is one of the biggest challenges of eldercare during the holidays. Perhaps you can commit to visiting more regularly, signing up for visitation on a common calendar or holding regular video chats.
If you can't personally be there and/or have access to a private duty caregiver, work with your home care agency to schedule volunteer carolers to visit, or research other holiday volunteers to help alleviate any seasonal loneliness. As the person most invested in your Senior's happiness, make sure your agency has a communication platform that allows you to influence and communicate the care tasks needed for your Senior, and ensure those tasks are being delivered. Simply having someone to talk to can drastically reduce the loneliness of our loved ones, and be a great addition to their normal home care program.
2. Find activities to make your senior smile
The Mayo Clinic has long been advocating for the health benefits of laughter. Not only do cheerful chuckles reduce stress, they also help to solidify stronger relationships and reduce everyone's blood pressure levels! Consider hosting a family sing-along to familiar holiday tunes or having a holiday movie night. There are many comical, holiday movie options that are sure to make family of all ages grin. Consider baking cookies, making homemade ornaments together, or hosting a present opening party too! Choose any activity that you or your private duty caregiver can do with your Senior and spread spontaneous laughter! Depending on the activity level of your loved one, this can be as simple as working on a holiday themed puzzle or coloring a holiday picture. If your Senior is more active you could make gifts together, or build wreaths.
3. Decorate together
Setting up decorations together is not only a great bonding experience, but it allows Seniors and younger members of the family to explore cherished family heirlooms and memories. This is the perfect opportunity to tell stories of special ornaments or dig out family photos and reminisce. The decorations will add a bit of sparkle to the room, and the conversation will add a bit of sparkle to your loved one.
4. Display their holiday cards
Finding a prominent place to display any holiday cards is an excellent idea to help spread cheer to your aging family member. When they walk by their cards and greetings each day, they will be reminded how much they are loved. This is especially helpful if they have received photo greeting cards as seeing the faces of loved ones daily will help to reduce seasonal loneliness.
5. Schedule a shopping trip or help them shop online
Getting together for a shopping outing, or assisting in navigating complex websites is a great way to connect your loved one with those he or she may need to purchase gifts for. Sitting together and making a list of things children or grandchildren may like to receive for Christmas is an excellent way to extend this activity as well. You can even wrap them together and choose a special wrapping paper for each grandchild.
Home care for your Senior this holiday should be focused not only on their comfort and health, but also on spreading and sharing holiday joy. Enjoy making memories and sharing holiday experiences this season. Contact us with any questions you or your agency may have about how the best home care agencies are leveraging technololgy to deliver superior patient care to your loved ones, and keeping you informed.