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 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.
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 home care assistance Peoria and the surrounding areas have 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!