The Christmas season is upon us! With ornaments hung from the tree and hot cocoa brewing, this special time of year celebrating the birth of our Lord, Jesus, can be filled with joy and cheer. However, it may not always come as a welcome season’s greetings for all. As we age, the holidays can lead to anxiety and sometimes even isolation or depression. With holiday memories of the past surfacing or extreme changes in a living situation. These can all act as triggers, leaving seniors feeling lost from their loved ones around them.
This year, you can make a difference and help beat the holiday blues for the seniors in your life by simply following this guide to making the holidays happy again:
With the many events from Thanksgiving to New Years, there are several opportunities to include them into your holiday plans. Even the smallest of activities can have an immense impact on your senior's life. Whether it’s asking them to set the table, baking holiday cookies with them for Santa, or inviting them to a showing of the Nutcracker ballet. Help make them feel loved by incorporating them into your schedule this holiday season. It will give them the greatest gift of all, precious time spent with family.
Spend quality time with your senior, reminisce about the past, and make new memories together. While those recollections can sometimes trigger sadness, it can also give them something light up about. Telling tales are a great way to engage with seniors, as they have many to tell. As you spend quality time with your loved ones, ask them what their family traditions were like when they were younger. Comparing your similarities is a great way to bond during the holidays. Time spent together will also allow for new family traditions and memories to be made.
Keep things upbeat - If your senior is going through a hard time as a result of mental or health related problems, don’t let it get them down this holiday season. Stay positive! Never make them feel poorly about themselves if they can't do things the way they used to. If you’re senior parent or grandparent is used to cooking the big family meal during the holidays, but are now disabled, find ways for them to participate. For example, let them peel the potatoes or help snap the green beans for Christmas dinner. There are lots of ways to accommodate for your aging senior.
Can’t see all of your loved ones this year? Send them a Christmas card! Seniors love receiving special mail from family members and close friends. It’s not only fun for seniors but for fun for kids, too! Turn it into an annual project for the kiddos. Every year, have them draw Christmas cards to grandparents, great grandparents, and seniors without families here at Regency Assisted Living. It’s a great way to tell them you’re thinking about them this holiday season. But not all messages have to come by mail, you know. For those with long-distance relatives, it is easy to connect virtually over the internet using communication tools like Skype, FaceTime or Facebook Live using a computer, laptop or phone. No matter how far, give your senior loved ones a call to wish them a joyful, happy holidays.
The greatest gift of all, however, is time spent with family during the holidays. At Regency, we encourage our residents’ families to visit or, alternately, pick up their elder family member for a dinner, family get-together, or holiday event. For families who decide to join us during this merry and bright season, our Regency staff and team of culinary chefs work diligently to serve you and your loved ones with a memorable, special meal in our dining room.
Written by: Katie Hanley