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!