‘Tis the season – the holidays are upon us! While the holidays bring families and friends together, they can also bring stress. Unfortunately, the stress the holiday season brings can be challenging for seniors.
In addition to the disruption of habit and routine, memories of lost loved ones and activities that limit participation can all be sources of stress, frustration or loneliness.
Find 5 tips for seniors to help manage the stress that may come with the holiday season below.
1. Include older loved ones in festive activities
While just being in the presence of loved ones can often boost moods and feelings of love, it’s important the seniors in your life can also partake in the festivities around the holidays. Make sure the activities planned are not overly-active or overwhelming. One example of an activity you can do together is decorate their senior living home for the holidays.
2. Acknowledge Loss
While thinking about lost loved ones can make many people sad, it’s important to bring them up during important family times where they would normally be. Honor the memories of loved ones by talking about them, your favorite time you spent with them or what they did that made you laugh. It will help to include their memory in the festivities rather than not.
3. Reduce Possible Complications
If the holiday celebrations are at your home, try and make it as accessible as possible for the seniors in your life. Remove obstacles that can cause a fall (loose rugs) and avoid rearranging the furniture as it can cause confusion. Another note, try and keep the gathering on the first floor so your elderly loved ones don’t have to climb up or go down the stairs and risk a fall.
4. Watch for Signs of Stress or Depression
With the chaos of the holidays, it’s easy to overlook some of your guests but it’s crucial to keep tabs on your elderly loved ones. If you notice one of them exhibiting signs of stress, anxiety or depression—withdrawing from activities or change in eating habits—you may want to suggest they take a break from the crowd. Whether they take time to read a book or just relax elsewhere, it can help them focus on their health and wellbeing.
5. Share the Responsibility
The holiday season is typically fun and enjoyable but there can also be a lot of pressure that goes along with it like, cooking, cleaning, shopping and much more. Help your loved ones by sharing the responsibility with them and taking on one or more of their tasks. For example, try baking with them! That way, you can bond with your loved one and help them out on one of their tasks to hopefully relieve some of the pressure they may be feeling.
Try any of these suggestions to help reduce holiday stress from your loved ones. Remember, it only takes simple steps to make a big impact.