Happy Holidays from the Alvita Care team!
Whether you’ve had a chance to get to know the Alvita Care team personally, or are just dropping by to read our blog, chances are you know senior family members or friends. So as the holidays are upon us, we wanted to take a few minutes to consider ways to enjoy the holiday season with seniors.
We all love the holidays because it’s a chance to spend time with our families and our loved ones – to eat, drink and be merry! It’s a festive time where smiles, laughs and hugs are shared, gifts are exchanged, and lasting memories are forged.
But it can also be a time of added stress. There is so much to get done and so little time to do it. Bringing everyone together can cause certain challenging family dynamics to flare up. For those without family or friends nearby, the loneliness can feel overwhelming.
Here are a handful of helpful tips to help enjoy the holiday season with seasons:
• Take a walk down memory lane. The holidays are a great time to reminisce and reflect on treasured memories, especially when multiple generations come together. This is a great time for seniors and children to connect, and for grandparents or great grandparents to share stories about traditions from their holiday past with a younger generation. Sharing memories can be a particularly powerful opportunity to bond with elderly that have experienced symptoms of memory loss – they often have difficulty with recent events, but are able to recall stories from the past. Bring out the old photograph books (or make an activity out of archiving that old shoebox of photos) and encourage everyone to share.
• Engage in activities. Invite your senior neighbor or family member to visit and join in an activity like baking cookies or making a photo album as mentioned above. This can be another great opportunity to encourage natural conversation and bring generations together. Choose something where everyone can work at their own pace so older participants can go slower or take breaks as needed. Avoid stress and don’t worry about perfection; prioritize “doing” the activity rather than the end result.
• Avoid embarrassments. Avoid comments that could highlight any short-term memory loss that an elderly family member or friend may be experiencing. These moments can be all the more embarrassing when larger groups of people are together or other stress has been added to the mix. Roll with the flow instead of proclaiming in front of all, “Aunt Beth, we just talked about that, don’t you remember!?” And try to avoid unnecessary changes to routine that can cause confusion.
• Watch medications. With all the hustle-bustle of the holidays, we aren’t able to rely on our daily routines and as a result it’s easy to forget to take medication timely. Help those who require medications at certain times of the day (or in conjunction with food or liquids) to remember when to take them or to plan ahead. And also pay attention to alcohol consumption during this festive season as mixing alcohol and medication can have adverse side effects.
• Give yourself a break. The holidays are stressful for anyone, and can be particularly so if you are a primary caregiver of an elderly loved one. Exhaustion, stress, anger and frustration can negatively impact you, your loved one, and your entire family. So engage other visiting family members to help with some of the caregiving tasks that typically fall on your shoulders. If you normally receive services from an agency like ours, consider having your caregiver continue work as regularly scheduled, even though you plan to be home more yourself.
Alvita Care is a premier provider of in-home care services designed to enhance the well-being, independence and dignity of our clients. We wish you a happy and safe holiday season!