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Family Caregivers Guide to the Holidays

04 December 2016
  Home Care Assistance | Partner Content

Learn How You Can Relax and Enjoy the Holiday Season While Caring for a Senior Loved One

The holidays are a special time for families and friends to come together and celebrate lifelong traditions. However, if you are currently caring for an aging loved one, the holidays can be stressful. Decorating the house, organizing gatherings or finding the perfect gifts for loved ones, all while caring for an older adult, can sometimes be overwhelming.

Home Care Assistance has designed a special booklet for family caregivers to help navigate the holiday season with minimal stress and lots of joy and laughter. Along with useful tips, it has recipes and a gift guide for seniors. Here are some useful ideas for the holidays you can find in the Family Caregivers Guide to the Holidays:

Tips for Decorating the Home

Maintaining traditions is an important part of the holiday season and helping your senior loved one decorate his or her home can be an easy way to spread holiday cheer while bringing the two of you closer together. Here are a few tips that will make the holiday preparation process easier.

Keep things simple

Don’t feel like you have to go above and beyond to help your senior loved one prepare for the holidays. Seniors appreciate the small things and likely won’t expect extravagant decorations. Place a wreath on the door instead of opting for a large tree, or place a menorah in a central location as opposed to decorating the whole house.

Ignore the DIY trend

“Doing it yourself” is trendy these days, but considering everything else going on during the holidays, don’t feel guilty if you purchase or reuse decorations – unless, of course, you enjoy DIY crafting projects! 

Focus on spending quality time together

One of the most significant parts of the holiday season is quality time with your loved ones. Focus on spending time with your senior’s friends or family members while you help him or her prepare for the holidays. Remember, sitting with a cup of tea and sharing a memory can be more meaningful than creating a winter wonderland in the front yard.

Senior-Friendly Holiday Gatherings

The holidays usually entail gatherings with family and/or friends. Whether it’s a large family party or an intimate dinner, holiday parties can be stressful to plan or even attend if you have a loved one that you are caring for nearby. Whether you are planning your own holiday gathering or attending another party where your senior loved one will be joining you, here are some helpful reminders to ensure you both have a nice, relaxing time.

Ensure proper seating

Make sure your senior loved one has a comfortable place to sit at the party. It’s best for his or her seat to be in a central location so that he or she can enjoy the company of others without feeling isolated.

Help facilitate one-on-one conversation

Although you want your loved one to be engaged with everyone at the party, make sure that you take time to talk with him or her one-on-one. Be mindful of hearing impairments and either speak loudly, move to a quiet location or both. Enlist help from others. Plan in advance to have others help you care for your senior. Remember, you also want to enjoy the party, so join in the fun knowing that your loved one is being taken care of by friends and family.

Plan for special attention

If the host will be serving a meal at the event, help your senior loved one prepare his or her plate. If your loved one has food allergies or special nutritional needs, plan in advance and bring something that he or she will be able to enjoy.

Limit the event’s duration

If you are the host, make sure the party doesn’t last more than 2 hours. If you are not the host, don’t feel bad if you need to leave early. It’s best to set a firm time to leave and avoid pushing any limitations.

Bringing the Generations Together

The holidays bring friends and family members of all ages together, which is why it is such a special time of year. However, there are some things to consider when bringing the generations together, especially if an aging senior is present.

Explain the limitations of seniors to the younger children

Most older adults love being around the younger generations, but children, toddlers and babies may not understand the limitations of their aging family members. Explain Grandma’s mobility challenges, hearing impairment, or memory issues in advance so that children aren’t intimidated or confused.

Encourage lifelong family traditions

The holidays present the opportunity to keep the traditions that started many generations ago alive! Set aside time to perform a traditional activity, eat a traditional meal or use traditional décor. Better yet, encourage the older adults to share stories behind the traditions in your family, empowering the younger generations to carry on the important family traditions into their later years.

Share stories and look at photos from the past

Since times when family and friends gather together are rare, use the holidays as a time to go through old scrapbooks to look at photos, tell stories and recall past memories together. 

Our mission at Home Care Assistance Prescott is to change the way the world ages. We provide older adults with quality care that enables them to live happier, healthier lives at home. Our services are distinguished by the caliber of our caregivers, the responsiveness of our staff and our expertise in Live-In care. We embrace a positive, balanced approach to aging centered on the evolving needs of older adults. Home Care Assistance is available 24/7 throughout the holiday season to help you and your family. Call us today for a complimentary in-home consultation 928-771-0105.