The holidays can be a happy time for seniors that thrive on social activities and long-held traditions. They can also mean an increase in depression, loneliness, grief, and stress for different reasons. You can minimize the negative parts of the holiday season when you put in some extra effort to make them more enjoyable for your aging mom or dad.
Some common causes of sadness during the winter holidays include nostalgia, loss of a loved one, limited mobility, chronic pain, debilitating illness, and being far from friends or family. Stress can be triggered by over-stimulation, extra expenses, physical and mental limitations, over-scheduling, hunger and fatigue.
To help you reduce the stress of the winter holidays with an elderly parent and maximize their enjoyment, here’s a list of helpful hints about what not to do:
Don’t Try To Fit Everything In.
No matter what winter holiday you and your elderly parent celebrate, there are bound to be a number of community and family events going on. Not to mention preparing special food and honoring certain traditions associated with the holidays. If you and your aging mom or dad try to do everything and attend everything, you’ll both be exhausted. Instead, decide the activities and events that are the most meaningful to you both, and plan for those.
Don’t Ignore Family and Friends.
It’s easy to get distracted around the holidays and give some things way more importance than they deserve. This could range from endless hours of shopping to being too stressed out about the details of a party to fully enjoy it. To create the best memories for you and your elderly parent, focus on activities that bring family and friends together. Seniors especially cherish time spent with family members that aren’t in town often.
Don’t Neglect Their Needs.
Seniors may claim they are ready to celebrate the holidays like they used to, but age can have an effect on them physically and mentally. They may not be able to stay up later to attend a party or a concert event, and skipping or delaying a meal may make them more tired, nauseated, or cranky. If they use a walker or wheelchair, some informal events may not be as accommodating or simply difficult to navigate. Keeping their needs in the forefront as you plan will result in a better time for all.
Don’t Do It All Alone.
You’ll definitely hit maximum stress levels if you try to navigate the winter holidays with your elderly parent all on your own. Managing the care for your aging mom or dad is hard enough to balance with all the other demands on your time. Ask for help from friends and family, and hire a home care aide if you need to. If you need some time to yourself or choose to attend an event but can’t leave your elderly mom or dad, contact a home care agency, adult day care facility, senior center, or county senior group. You’ll both be better off when you are rested and refreshed.
The holidays can be a wonderful time to create memories and get closer with your elderly parent. By avoiding some of the more common problems, you’ll be able to enjoy spending time together at this special time of year.
If you or someone you know needs home care in Hutchinson, MN, contact Prairie River Home Care. We provide quality and affordable home care services for many fragile or senior members in the communities we serve. Call us at (888) 660-5772 for more information.