Elder Care during Holiday Times
The holiday season offers many long-awaited experiences from spending time with friends and family to enjoying our favorite holiday meals. However, if you’re providing elder care for a loved one, you may wonder how the holidays will affect your typical routine.
Most of us experience some kind of shake-up in our routines around the holidays, but these changes are often more acutely felt by seniors. Below, we’ve outlined some tips to help make elder care during holiday times easier on everyone involved.
Prepare An Elder Care Plan for the Holidays
Being prepared for the holidays will make your job as a family caregiver easier to manage. It will also ensure your loved one stays comfortable and content through what is often a chaotic season. Here are just a few of the ways you can prepare:
- Encourage Healthy Eating in Between Holiday Meals
Indulging in delicious dishes is one of the most sacred holiday traditions. Not only do these nostalgic flavors bring back wonderful memories, but they also bring the family together in a shared experience that shouldn’t be denied to seniors.
It’s important to keep an eye on balance throughout the holidays. Holiday meals are special occasions to look forward to, not to stretch out for days on end. In between those rich holiday meals, make sure your loved one has something light and nutritious within reach. They’ll feel better physically and will also have an easier time sticking to their doctor’s dietary guidelines.
- Make Exercise a New Holiday Ritual
The cooler winter months often lead us toward a more sedentary lifestyle, even as our calorie intake increases thanks to the holidays. While it’s normal to want to spend more cozy time indoors as the weather cools off, less movement can make us feel more sluggish. It can also trigger a spell of the holiday blues.
Ensure your loved one benefits from exercise by making fun physical activities part of their holiday experience. For example, you could have the whole family bundle up and go for a brisk walk around the neighborhood after each family meal. Or, you can help your loved one get in the holiday spirit by doing a few laps around the mall while window shopping. Spending time in nature and watching the leaves change colors is also a great way to enjoy being active.
- Reduce Gift-Related Financial Stress
Many seniors love to dote on their children and grandchildren with holiday gifts. Unfortunately, those on a fixed income often feel financial strain as they struggle with the desire to be generous within their limited means. To minimize stress for all the members of your family, including seniors, suggest opting for a “Secret Santa” or “white elephant” gift exchange so everyone can experience the joy of giving without going over budget.
- Practice Fall Prevention at Family Members’ Homes
The last thing you want is for your loved one’s holiday joy to be marred by a dangerous fall. If they will be visiting other family members this season, take time to make the home both safe and accessible. This could include removing rugs that present a fall hazard and installing nightlights if the senior is staying overnight.
- Schedule Time Off for Yourself
The holidays can be a stressful, chaotic time, especially for those who are constantly on the go. As a family caregiver, it’s crucial to remain aware of your own stress levels and take time off from your caregiving duties as needed.
One of the best ways to make your own health and well-being a priority during this busy season is to book visits from a professional elder care provider. Being proactive about meeting your own needs for self-care will make this time of year much more enjoyable and give you the energy required to provide the quality of care your loved one deserves.