Let’s face it. The holidays can be stressful. There’s the decorating, shopping, wrapping, and event planning to gather family and friends together to celebrate the reason for the season with gifts, food, fun, and fellowship. Throw in a few holiday parties, and Christmas arrives in a flash!
This stress is usually amplified for family and professional caregivers because they not only have these responsibilities for their immediate family, but part of their job as a caregiver requires they take care of these tasks for the seniors they care for, too.
So, Damey and I were thinking about ways caregivers could reduce their stress levels while improving the holiday experience for seniors and loved ones.
AgingCare explains, “It’s important to remember that your love and attention are the most valuable gifts you can give. That and helping your elders to feel included in whatever ways they can participate. Whether your aging loved one lives in their own home, with you or in senior living, discover ways to adapt cherished traditions and ideas for new customs that will keep the holiday season festive (yet simple) for you both.“
Here are 10 helpful hints to make holidays happier days for seniors and us all:
- Play or sing holiday music. Music has the power to touch the human soul, and so many holiday tunes are known by everyone. Create a playlist of your favorites and those of senior loved ones or find a radio station that plays Christmas music around the clock and sing, dance, cook, decorate, or simply chat about holidays past.
- Make holiday traditions intergenerational. Children and adolescents can learn so much from their elders, that it’s important they share time together during the holidays making ornaments or other crafts, cooking holiday treats, looking at photo albums, or singing Christmas carols.
- Decorate together. Retrieve your seniors’ treasured holiday decorations and help them with decorating. If they are unable to help, talk to them about their favorites and the history behind them. Also, be sure to place decorations in areas where the senior spends a lot of time so they can be enjoyed more readily. Just be sure nothing poses a safety hazard.
- Assist with holiday greetings. Staying connected to family and friends is so important for seniors! Offer to help aging loved ones write Christmas cards or holiday letters, address the envelopes, provide the stamps, and drop them off at the post office.
- Be supportive. Notice the needs of your senior loved one and watch for signs of loneliness or depression. Lend support by offering to listen to what’s on their mind. If they’ve received troubling news about a friend or relative, offer to take them for a visit, or sadly, to the funeral home when someone they cared about passes away.
- Prepare simple holiday meals. Who doesn’t appreciate simple meals? Consider hosting a potluck meal or bringing food to your elders. It will reduce your workload and keep things simple. Additionally, you could prepare a few traditional recipes, and order premade dishes to complete the meal. If there are leftovers, be sure to safely store some for your special senior someone.
- Shop strategically. If your senior loved one is capable of going shopping on their own, that’s great, but you might want to accompany them. If they are unable to shop due to physical or mental constraints, offer to do their holiday shopping in stores or online so they don’t become overly stressed about it.
- Prioritize holiday favorites. Find out what treats and traditions your senior loved one enjoys most, and make those things happen to the best of your ability. Things that are not as important can be scaled down or out.
- Reminisce. We love hearing our elders tell stories about their past, especially over the holidays! Ask seniors to tell stories and share memories, because discovering family histories can be enlightening and entertaining across generations.
- Dress for the occasion. If your senior loved one enjoys holiday clothing, consider buying them a festive new sweater, pajama set, piece of jewelry or cozy pair of socks.
If you are a caregiver in need of respite, you live too far away, or your holiday schedule is too busy to make time for your senior loved ones, Home Helpers® employs professional caregivers who offer companionship, love, and support, as well as a variety of in-home care services to help make life easier and their holidays happier!
Damey and I are happy to schedule a FREE consultation at your convenience to assess specific needs and determine ways we can help your special senior someone have the happiest of holidays this year and beyond! (330)892-9329
From all of us at Home Helpers Canton, OH, Happy Holidays!
Home Helpers® Canton, OH, is Veteran-owned and operated. We are honored to have received the Home Care Pulse – Best of Home Care® Provider of Choice Award, the Shooting Star Award (2011), and multiple Platinum awards for the superior level of care we provide. We are Certified Senior Advisors and members of the Home Care Association of America, Alzheimer’s Association, and the International Franchise Association. In addition, we were ranked in the Top 500 Franchises by Entrepreneur Magazine in 2019.
Home Helpers® Canton proudly serves male and female seniors in Stark County, Portage County, and portions of Summit County including the communities of Akron, Alliance, Canton, East Sparta, Hartville, Jackson, Massillon, Navarre, North Canton, Randolph, and surrounding areas.