The holidays are a special time to share in the joys of the season with family members and friends. But for older adults the holidays can be emotionally and physically draining. Decorations along with many faces and places to visit can cause confusion, depression and stress. Be prepared – use the following ideas to help seniors through this potentially difficult time of year.
Plan Ahead – Seniors tire easily and may be susceptible to over-stimulation. The noise and commotion at large family gatherings can lead to irritability or exhaustion, so have a ‘quiet room’ where they can take a break. Also, let others know your holiday plans and ask for help. You don’t need to do it all.
Reminisce – Start looking at photo albums or videos of family members and friends that will be visiting. Talk with them about past holidays and encourage them to share their stories and experiences with the younger generation to stimulate memories.
Create New Memories – Seniors love to have something to look forward to – so add something new to their holiday activities. Take a drive or visit a mall to look at holiday displays, see a show or volunteer with family.
Involve the Senior – Include them in holiday preparations to give them a sense of purpose and help them to feel included in the activities. Being involved can also mean less confusion and give them a better connection with the people and their surroundings.
Reach Out – The holidays can be an especially lonely time for seniors and loneliness can cause depression, so it is very important to connect with them. Make a point to go and spend some time with the older people in your life.
Seniors can get lost in the shuffle of all the commotion at family gatherings. So remember to be sensitive to the elderly’s needs. Planning ahead will help to keep the season cheerful for everyone.