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Eliminate Holiday Stress for Seniors with Tips from Nightingale Homecare

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Reduce holiday stress for seniors with these tips.

With the onset of the holiday season, many people find themselves suffering from anxiety and stress, and that applies to older adults as well. Before the holidays, it will be important for your elder loved one to evaluate coping skills and take stock of holiday expectations to ensure they are realistic. When people dread the holidays, it can often be because their inner experience is so different from what is being hyped. Remind your loved one to keep his or her normal routine, and follow these tips from the home care team at Nightingale Homecare to reduce holiday stress for seniors.

Financial Pressures

Financial issues can cause stress for the elderly on a fixed budget, even without the pressure of buying gifts for the holidays. The belief that they must purchase gifts for everyone can over-burden the elderly. Help your loved one set a spending limit and choose affordable, meaningful gifts. It’s also helpful to have a conversation with your loved one’s family and friends to set expectations and relieve this pressure for everyone. Some families choose to donate to a worthy organization, or spend time volunteering to bring the joy of the season to others less fortunate. This will give the holidays a greater meaning for all family members.

Time Pressures and Self-Care

Reinforce for your loved one that his or her life and routine shouldn’t be put on pause because of the holidays. Self-care is a potent remedy for stress, and the main ingredient in our overall wellbeing. Many elderly find comfort and stress-reduction in routine self-care measures. Set expectations in advance for holiday gatherings, prioritize the invitations and assist your elder loved one in planning for only those activities that bring joy and meaning. Continue to reinforce that your loved one should not neglect the need for exercise, a healthy diet, getting sufficient rest, and other self-care measures.

Dealing with Loss During the Holidays

Many of our elder loved ones feel lonely during the holidays, as in previous years they may have celebrated with a spouse or other loved ones who have since passed. Encourage the senior to express those feelings and convey your understanding if he or she chooses to forgo activities that may result in feelings of isolation and loneliness.

Practice Mindfulness

When your elder loved one feels stressed, encourage him or her to pause for a moment and discern what is happening within in that moment. Allow your loved one to observe his or her internal experience without judgement. Practicing mindfulness is a way to lessen the gap between the stressed-out version of ourselves and who we are when functioning at our optimal level. Since our thoughts so greatly impact our emotions and behaviors, this shift can play a significant role in decreasing stress. As the saying goes, “What you think, you become.”

Seek Help and Support

Encourage your loved one to share his or her feeling about the holidays. This can help with setting realistic expectations and talking through stressors. Feeling the support from family and friends can be extremely helpful in eliminating stress and loneliness, especially over the holidays. When our elder loved ones are exhibiting signs of profound stress, sadness or loneliness, therapy can help.

Nightingale Homecare, providers of the highest quality at home care Phoenix and the surrounding area has to offer, is also on hand to help alleviate holiday stress for seniors with customized home care solutions, allowing for the restored peace and enjoyment they deserve. Contact us at (602) 504-1555 to learn more!

When the Holidays Are Anything But Merry and Bright: Help for Senior Holiday Blues

Senior Holiday BluesWhile the holidays can be a time to reunite with friends and family, they can also be a time of stress and loneliness, especially for our elder loved ones. Keep these tips in mind, courtesy of the Arizona home health care team at Nightingale Homecare, as you plan your festivities and prepare for what may present a time of undue stress and holiday blues for your loved one.

Plan Ahead

Talk about plans and expectations with your loved one. She may have been the family member who hosted family gatherings in the past, but physical limitations may add stress in keeping that tradition. Consider hosting the event yourself and limit your loved one’s preparation for the event. You can suggest she make the traditional favorite dish with your help, or help with decorating, but keep in mind your loved one’s limitations, while keeping her involved in the fun.

Monitor Moods

Often, our elder loved ones have some sadness over the holidays, especially when they have lost someone close to them. Keep your finger on the pulse of this and keep open communication with your loved one, while recognizing what may trigger sadness, confusion and stress. Talking about losses, recognizing this may be a time of sadness, while being supportive and understanding will help your loved one cope during a difficult time.

Monitoring stress in a loved one with dementia may be a bigger challenge, so it’s best to have an alternative plan if you notice more confusion or stress in your loved one during the holidays. Often, crowds overwhelm our elders, so it’s best to discuss this prior to the event and keep your gatherings small and intimate when possible. It may be better to have several small social gatherings rather than one large event.

Consider Dietary Needs

While it may be tempting for your loved one to experience all of the flavors of the season, be mindful of dietary restrictions when you plan the meal. Many people have a tendency to over eat when they are stressed, so keep that in mind and have healthy alternatives to rich holiday dishes. Keeping fresh vegetables and fruits on hand is a good plan. Make sure your loved one has plenty of fluids available to keep hydrated as well. Avoid alcohol, which can dehydrate, cause confusion and interact adversely with many medications. Keep bottled water or festive alcohol-free beverages available as an alternative.

Provide Rest Periods

The holidays can be a whirlwind of events and activities, and your loved one may have traveled a distance to be with family. Offer ample periods of rest, especially following a long travel day. Consider postponing the visiting until your loved one puts her feet up and rests, and dedicate a quite room in the house for the senior to retreat from noise or crowds. Ample periods of rest between shopping, visiting and holiday preparations will help keep stress at bay.

Share Your Feelings

Reminding your loved one how important he or she is to you never gets old! The holidays are a wonderful time when you can recall special memories you share with your loved one. Take some time to pamper him or her with love, and focus on the real meaning of the season. It’s easy to get too wrapped up in the gifts, parties and food and ignore the value our loved ones bring to our lives. Spending this extra time to communicate your feelings can bring true joy to your loved one.

For more suggestions on helping seniors enjoy the holiday season, contact the Arizona home health care experts at Nightingale Homecare. We’re also available to brighten the lives of seniors with cheerful companionship and encouragement to participate in fun activities, assistance with meals and housework, transportation and accompaniment to outings, and so much more. Call us to learn more about our Phoenix in-home care for seniors at (602) 504-1555.

From all of us at Nightingale Homecare, we wish the happiest of holidays to you and yours!


Posted in Blog, Holidays, Phoenix on December 21st, 2017 · Comments Off on When the Holidays Are Anything But Merry and Bright: Help for Senior Holiday Blues

Have a Holly Jolly Holiday, Seniors Included!

holiday seniorsAs we grow older, the holiday season can become challenging for a variety of reasons: memories of loved ones lost, chronic health conditions, increased difficulty with mobility and others. And as a result, many times seniors may feel left out, isolated and saddened, rather than joyful, merry and bright.

Families can help their older loved ones enjoy the holidays with a little pre-thought and planning of activities that all ages can participate in together. Our Arizona home health care team at Nightingale Homecare offers the following ideas:

  • Recipe sharing. Make a day out of poring through recipes that have been a big part of the person’s life, and add in some new ones you’d all like to try. Create a simple recipe book together, with the children adding their own touches through illustrations, stickers, etc. Once completed, get together on a regular basis to create and enjoy one of the recipes together.
  • Decorating. The options are truly limitless when it comes to holiday decorating. Bring a bag full of glitter, pom poms, craft sticks, pipe cleaners, paint, etc. and let everyone get creative! Or simply pick up a couple of pre-made gingerbread house kits complete with frosting and candies for a guaranteed fun afternoon for all ages. It’s also a great idea to pull out and look through decorations the older adult has collected over the years, and reminisce over the stories associated with each.
  • Helping another. Nothing feels better than helping someone in need, and the holidays provide the perfect opportunity to work together as a family to make a difference in a way that’s near and dear to your hearts. Serve at a homeless shelter, pick out gifts for children in need, bake dog treats and bring them to a local animal shelter, visit a local nursing home to sing holiday songs, fill stockings with small treats and hygiene items for veterans, etc.

At Nightingale Homecare, we love helping seniors participate in the fun of the holiday season, and can help in a variety of ways! Our Arizona home health caregivers provide friendly companionship, escorted transportation to fun outings and events, encouragement to be as involved as possible in any holiday activities that spark interest, and much more, customized to each person’s individual needs.

Call us any time at (602) 504-1555 to learn more about our licensed, certified, RN-managed in-home care services for seniors. We’ve been serving seniors throughout Maricopa County and the greater Phoenix area since 1994 and would love to help your senior loved one live life to the fullest as well – throughout the holiday season and into the new year as well!

Posted in Blog, Holidays, Phoenix on December 14th, 2017 · Comments Off on Have a Holly Jolly Holiday, Seniors Included!

Thinking of Getting Grandma a Pet for Christmas? Here’s What You Need to Know First!

Pet for ChristmasWith the holidays fast approaching, many of us are searching for ideas for the perfect gift for a senior loved one. One option to give some serious consideration to is stopping by the local animal shelter for a companion. Pet owners will tell you that pet ownership improves their quality of life, but did you know that owning a pet is good for your health and can improve your longevity too? There are numerous studies associated with pet ownership and the facts are hard to dispute. The Arizona home health care experts at Nightingale Homecare share some of the top benefits a pet can offer:

  • Owning a pet can boost mental health by decreasing stress, anxiety, depression and loneliness. Those of us who own pets know full well the exuberant reaction we receive when we return home, making us feel like a rock star. Imagine what this outpouring of unconditional love and devotion could do for your loved one who lives alone?
  • Lower blood pressure is another documented advantage pet owners have in common, notes the CDC. Consider getting your loved one a pet if he or she has hypertension. This relates back to the stress reduction pet owners experience from just having their pet nearby.
  • Many pet owners experience a reduction in pain by being in the company of their pet. The results are real; in fact, one study from Loyola University revealed that patients participating in pet therapy required far less pain medication than their post-surgical counterparts who did not participate in pet therapy.
  • Lower cholesterol is yet another perk of pet ownership, according to the CDC. This is especially true of men who own pets. It wasn’t clear from the study if the lower cholesterol and triglycerides were a result of just owning the pet, or if the pet encouraged a healthier lifestyle in the study participants, thus lowering cholesterol levels.
  • Pets can also help monitor your chronic health condition. The American Diabetes Association did a study in the 90s and discovered that pets, mostly dogs, would change their behavior when their owners had a drop in blood glucose levels. Other anecdotal reports outline how pets’ behavior would change when other undetectable changes in the owner’s health condition existed, alerting the owner and avoiding a potential health risk.
  • Numerous other studies have found that recovery from stroke, heart attack and surgery are significantly reduced when patients own a pet. Not only that, but pet owners live longer, and happier lives!

If you are debating whether or not to give your senior loved one a pet, and are concerned that he or she may not be able to manage the pet’s care, entrust Nightingale Homecare to aid in that effort! Our Arizona home health care professionals can provide transportation for seniors who want to visit the animal shelter and choose a pet, run errands to pick up pet food and other necessities, help with pet care services such as feeding, exercising, cleaning and changing litter boxes, etc., along with our full range of senior in-home care services. Contact us at (602) 504-1555 to learn more!



Help for Elderly Loneliness during the Holiday Season

elderly lonlinessMost of us start to feel some excitement listening to Christmas music, unpacking the tree, or planning a holiday gathering. But, especially for the elderly, loneliness can be very common during the holidays. Comparisons to past years, grieving losses experienced through the year, and struggles experienced by health issues or immobility are common triggers for loneliness, depression and isolation during the holidays.

Signs of holiday loneliness

The most important first step in helping address your loved one’s feelings of loneliness during the holidays is to recognize the red flags, such as:

  • Changes in eating habits
  • Lack of attention to personal care
  • Lack of interest in things that once brought joy
  • Isolation from friends and family members
  • Lack of interest in social interaction

Tips to lessen loneliness during the holidays:

  • Share your feelings: Take some time to listen and understand when your loved one wants to talk, even if the talk is negative or sad. He or she is likely mourning many of the losses experienced over the years and these seem to magnify over the holiday season. Remind the senior that he or she is loved and important to the family.
  • Get out and enjoy the season: Look for ways to include your elder relative in preparing for the holiday by planning a festive holiday outing or gathering. Take a few hours to go out for holiday coffee, shop for a special gift, look at Christmas lights together, watch a holiday play or performance together, or visit a place of worship. All of these holiday-inspired moments can mean a great deal to someone who is feeling lonely or isolated.
  • Prepare for the holidays: Include your loved one in as many holiday activities as possible. If there is a holiday ritual that was always important to your loved one, such as sending cards, baking cookies, wrapping gifts or making persimmon pudding, make sure you take the time to ensure your loved one can participate in this important part of the holiday. Make these moments’ enjoyable, sharing memories, putting on holiday music, dancing and involving the younger members of the family whenever possible.
  • Encourage self-care: If you notice your loved one isn’t taking care of himself or herself, make sure you encourage healthy foods and exercise. It may be helpful to spend an evening with your loved one and get a bubble bath ready, or give the gift of a pedicure or back massage. Taking a brisk evening walk, a trip to the spa or a yoga lesson with your loved one may be just the thing to jump start self-care! Practice deep breathing with our loved one: breathe in what you need – peace, serenity, strength – and out what you don’t – pain, sadness, and loneliness.
  • Bring the holidays to your loved one: If your loved one is unable to get out and enjoy the season for medical reasons, think of enjoyable ways to bring the spirit to him or her! Consider inviting your loved one’s friends for an impromptu holiday celebration, ask children from your church choir over to sing carols, and be sure to decorate your loved one’s home with holiday cheer!
  • Spend time together: Remember that loneliness feeds on itself, so find ways to spend moments together. While it might sound simple, just spending some extra time with your loved one can make a huge difference during the holidays.

Most importantly, be sure to seek help when needed. While elderly loneliness may be common during the holidays, profound loneliness or depression is not. If you notice your loved one is having a significant struggle with depression and loneliness during the holidays, or at any other time, ask his or her physician for help.

And call on Nightingale Homecare’s compassionate Phoenix caregivers for additional companionship, encouragement to participate in favorite pastimes, help around the house, and more! We’re just a phone call away and here for you and your senior loved ones – throughout the holiday season and beyond.

Posted in Aging Issues, Blog, Holidays on December 13th, 2016 · Comments Off on Help for Elderly Loneliness during the Holiday Season