by: Lori Solomon
As a general rule, festivities at holiday time, provide for a joyous season. Although it can be a particularly difficult time for many seniors, who may be remembering those dear to them that are no longer here to be with them to celebrate. Many seniors also exhibit behaviors of depression, and have increased anxiety and agitation due to feeling overwhelmed. Holiday stress can also increase their physical and mental issues to further complicate the season. Here are some tips to help your elderly loved one at holiday time:
1. Encourage remembrances of wonderful memories: Old photos, family movies and old-time music through photos, family videos and music from yesteryear. Stimulate memories to encourage our elders to share their remembrances.
2. Plan ahead. To encourage participation for the senior, plan ahead so that you have someone rested to have the stamina to enjoy the planned activities, party, etc.
3. Create a senior friendly environment: If you plan on taking your loved one out to celebrate at another person's home, then be aware that this environment needs to be a safe one for the senior. For instance, remove accent rugs that could lead to a fall.
4. Be a good listener, take clues from them. Comment as appropriately as you can, as this can be a sensitive time.
5. Create new traditions. We all need something to look forward to. As our elders age, they may have lost old-time friends and dear family.
Family may be scattered, not able to come home at holiday time.
6. Encourage them to give. Increase their self worth by giving of themselves or providing gifts for others. Sharing their memories or cherished keepsakes with people close to them may provide a true joy.
7. Be thoughtful and include the senior. They are most likely lonely, which can lead to depression and resentment. They have many years of suggestions they will gladly pass on for others. Involve a senior center, religious place of worship or other senior venue to "reach out and touch another someone, someone who may not have family of their own".
8. Find new modes of entertainment to stay active minded. Activities for the holiday season are important. Keep your senior cognitively busy. Beat the "Holiday blues" and "Depression.
9. Maintain a happy environment. Maintain brightness in these special festive days, despite the sense of loss they may have of loved ones who are no longer here to partake of the holiday with them.
10. Monitor medications and alcohol. Be aware of their alcohol intake during the holidays at gatherings or in the privacy of their own home. You don't want the alcohol to interfere with medications.
Give the gift a senior most wants! Time, companionship and visits from their friends and loved ones will be their most treasured gift. Seniors will typically relish the seasonal gatherings. This is the time to have patience, have compassion, and provide a safe and wonderful new memory, for them to reflect back on throughout the coming year.
Accent on Seniors, A FREE State Licensed Senior Living Referral Service, providing personalized information about senior living throughout California. Call 888-954-6637 to obtain a detailed listing of places for your loved ones and friend or go onto the website at www.AccentOnSeniors.com.
Copyright © 2008, Accent on Seniors Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduced by permission from Lori Solomon, and http://www.accentonseniors.com/.
Lori Solomon is President & Founder of Accent on Seniors, a CA State licensed FREE referral placement & info service. She has over 25 years of experience serving the senior community. With a Masters in Health Administration and CA Certification as a Residential Care Facility Administrator, Lori has served on a prestigious list of industry boards. http://www.AccentOnSeniors.com.