Holidays should be a time for enjoying time together, not for adding more responsibilities to an already packed caregiving routine. This holiday season, Continuum wants to make certain that the families of St. Louis and St. Charles understand how to care for and engage frail elders in holiday activities that are suited for the ability of the senior or frail elder.
Making a few adjustments to old traditions or starting a few new traditions to accommodate an aging or frail loved one can help make the holidays special for all ages. Bringing out old holiday recipes, stringing popcorn chains while reminiscing or attending a holiday concert together are all great ideas, but should be planned for in advance. Professional caregivers can help by recognizing signs of stress or special needs for the senior that might otherwise be overlooked, curtailing accidents or emotional spills.
Here are some general ideas to include the senior in your life in holiday activities:
• Actively participate to his or her abilities in seasonal activities
• Reminisce and relive good times
• Share recipes, traditions, and memories
• Visit with family and friends
Consider what specific holiday-related activities would be fun for your loved one. Explain and include them in the planning beforehand to assure that they will enjoy the activity. Seemingly trivial things like holiday scents, moving furniture around to make a place for the Christmas tree, and participating in holiday activities can add to anxiety. Keep a journal of holiday events and ideas in order to cut down on some of the stress and guesswork next year. Don’t over-plan and keep your expectations realistic.