The holidays are upon us, and the way my schedule pulls me in every direction, I find the holidays to be the perfect time for my family to unite in fellowship and celebration. You probably know what I mean!
These occasions can be especially important to seniors, as loved ones are usually too busy with their own lives to spend quality time with their elder relatives. Caregivers to seniors during the holidays usually face added stress, too, so it is important to recognize National Family Caregivers Month with ways to reduce stress and confusion and keep the holidays happy and meaningful for everyone.
- Decide which aspects of the holidays are most important, and try to keep familiar traditions alive. Is Great Aunt Betty accustomed to decorating a holiday tree? If so, try to find a prominent place out of walkways to display a real or artificial tree, and plan to assist with decorating. Be careful that electrical cords are not safety hazards by securing on outside walls and out of the paths of canes, walkers and shuffling feet.
- Special meals are always an important element of holiday gatherings. Caregivers, in conjunction with family members, should carefully plan a menu that adheres to applicable dietary and nutritional requirements. For example, if Uncle Ira uses insulin injections to regulate his blood sugar, consider limiting the number of sugar-sweetened goodies spread about and included in meals. Instead, strike a balance with naturally sweet options like fresh and dried fruits and colorful, nutritious veggies via a crux de te.
- Grocery and gift shopping can be stressful and tiresome for even younger adults. Seniors often struggle when trying to circumnavigate aisles and select items amongst endless choices. I recommend caregivers and family members make lists that will take care of all shopping needs to eliminate the hazards and hassles that can negatively affect Grandpa’s safety and well-being. Furthermore, once shopping is complete, assist with putting groceries away and wrapping gifts for family and friends.
- If Mom is adamant that she wants to take part in the stringing the lights, or maybe doing the shopping, that’s fine. Try to plan outings in the morning or earlier in the day, as we all feel more tired later in the day. Confusion can be an especially serious issue, when Mom is suffering from Alzheimer’s, Dementia and/or Sundowners.
- Prepare family members for what they might encounter when they see Grandma for the first time in a long time. If she is suffering from a specific condition, make sure everyone is aware of changes they will observe when it comes to their memory, appearance, and ambulatory restrictions.
- When family and friends get together, conversation, laughter and general noise can become troublesome for seniors. Try to find a quiet place to relax with Uncle Joe away from the noise to lower anxiety and confusion that can arise when there is a flurry of activity outside of the senior’s norm.
- Always try to keep daily routines, daily routines. Understandably, certain changes are expected to occur, such as the time the holiday meal is prepared and served, and the number of friends and family members that are participating in the festivities. But, ideally, if a caregiver or a member of the family can see to it that Aunt Jenny rises at her normal time in the morning, has her coffee, eats a bite of breakfast, takes her medications, and manages personal hygiene, she will feel more confident to participate as the day unfolds.
The holidays can be a very lonely time for seniors who do not reside close to family members. I am proud of my team of caregivers who are available 24/7/365, to be there when you cannot. Don’t allow your special senior someone to go it alone during the holidays. Call Home Helpers today, and I will make sure a compatible, compassionate caregiver takes care of practically any need, eliminates loneliness, while providing companionship and love this holiday season, or anytime throughout the year!
We proudly serve seniors during the holidays in Clearwater, Dunedin, Palm Harbor, Tarpon Springs, New Port Richey, Trinity, Port Richey, and Hudson, Florida. Call today: 727.972.2539.