The holidays bring up fond memories of family gatherings. Yet, this time of the year can be stressful for many people, especially families with senior loved ones. Many families want to celebrate the holiday, but it can be hard for those with health issues.
As our elder members lose some mobility or need extra assistance, it can be challenging to find activities that keep them safe and engaged throughout the holiday season. Still, it’s so important to keep seniors involved during the holidays, most notably for their own well-being.
However, there are a few things that you can do to help your senior loved one enjoy the holiday season. With a few tips, you can find wonderful ways to celebrate this particular time of the year. Let’s look at five ways to keep seniors involved in the holidays.
1. Celebrate Those Holiday Traditions
Many families have special holiday traditions for this time of year. While your senior loved one might be in a wheelchair or living at an assisted residence, that doesn’t mean you have to skip those traditions. Think about what traditions mean the most to your family members.
Was it singing a holiday song or reminiscing about past celebrations? No matter the size of the gesture, it could be enough to lift the spirits of everyone involved.
During the holidays, get everyone included in the festivities. Any time between your elder relatives and younger children is something to be cherished.
Take time to focus on those beloved activities, such as making crafts, baking, or taking pictures. Even if your family member is limited in physical activity, just being in the room is enough to lift their spirits. Plus, it gives you time to celebrate together as a family.
2. Decorate Your Spaces
If your family member is in an assisted living space, consider bringing treasured decorations to their rooms. Just make sure to get approval from the site’s geriatric care manager. There could be some restrictions about what you can bring.
However, many places allow you to bring in personal belongings. Science has shown that decorating for the holiday can spike dopamine, the feel-good hormone. Along with that, it is an activity for everyone, even if that means “directing” from a seated position.
Go ahead, take a few of those prized possessions, and put them in a place of honor. Don’t forget to get a few suggestions for your loved one on where you set up these items.
Remember to always ask for suggestions, and allow your senior to have a say in the decorations. You want them to be an essential part of the holiday process.
If your relative can visit your home, take a few of their holiday decorations and use them. Make sure to point out those spots to your loved one. You might even hear a heartwarming story about the decoration and how it relates to your family.
3. Be Supportive
Unfortunately, the holidays can be difficult for many people. While it is a family celebration, it’s also a time to remember those who are no longer here. Those memories can lead to painful recollections for the entire family.
About 1 in 5 adults will struggle with a mental illness. Make sure you take the time to see if your senior family members are showing signs of depression. Often, people feel alone on the holidays, especially those in assisted centers.
You never want to leave your family members out of the celebrations. Even a short visit is enough to lift those spirits during the holiday season.
If they cannot be there in person, take time to give them the event’s details. These little interactions can make a significant impact on an individual’s mental health.
4. Simplify the Holidays
In many cases, families go “big” when it comes to the holidays. With that, there are elaborate meals and gift-giving. Some seniors might feel stressed during this time.
You can alleviate some of those negative feelings by scaling back on the festivities. No, you don’t have to skip the celebrations, but think of a more intimate gathering.
Big events can often tire out very ill family members. Always think about their comfort levels.
If you plan a big meal at home, make a few dishes that your senior loved one can enjoy. Use a couple of family recipes to make a traditional meal. Even a small treat to their assisted living home can bring some joy to those holiday traditions.
5. Focus on Family
During the holidays, many people are searching for the perfect gift. However, the simple joys are just spending time with your loved ones. Take time to listen to stories and reminisce.
Sharing those family stories is priceless. While you want to make new memories, it is important to step back and slow down.
Enjoy your time with your senior loved one. Make them the star of the celebration.
You might even learn something new about your family. Creating memories during the holiday season is something that can bring together all generations.
Your Time Is a Priceless Gift
Sometimes, it may be a challenge to keep seniors involved in the holidays. With a few extra steps, you can make your loved ones feel appreciated throughout the holidays and beyond.
Keeping your senior loved during these important events is vital to aging well. These interactions show that you care and appreciate them.
While many of us can become overwhelmed with family commitments, take time to slow down. A visit to your senior loved one’s assisted center can lift those holiday spirits.
If your family member can travel, make sure to keep them safe with less hectic activities. All of these suggestions can help create an engaging holiday season.
Keep Seniors Involved During the Holidays This Year
At Reflections Management and Care, we care about the physical and mental health of our seniors. Family time provides so many benefits for our loved ones.
The holidays are difficult, but these suggestions can help them stay safe and healthy throughout the celebrations.
If you need to find a place that feels like home for the holidays, call us at 315-497-7200 or contact us to start the conversation.