holidays

Make the Holidays Brighter for Senior Loved Ones Near and Far

The holiday season can be a difficult time for senior citizens. It can range from sadness over the loss of loved ones and friends to anxiety over not being able to purchase gifts for their families. Senior citizens in a nursing home or even in their own homes may not be able to leave and are saddened to miss out on traditions. Whatever your situation is, this guide will provide you and your family with tips on how you can celebrate the holidays together.

For many senior citizens, the holidays are not about receiving gifts, bur rather, being able to spend time with their family and friends. Schedule time with your family and friends for activities like attending church, getting together for a party, or simply going out to eat. For families with loved ones in a nursing home, talk to their healthcare provider to see if they can leave the facility. If not, plan a visit that could include decorating their room or exchanging gifts.

If you are not able to see your loved ones this holiday season, take advantage of technology if you are able to. Applications like FaceTime or Skype allow you to video chat with your family and friends. Email and texting are also great ways to stay connected with them. Family members can ensure their loved ones feel remembered during the season by sending them gifts or a catered meal on the holiday.

DailyCaring, LLC, a caregiver website, offers some excellent tips on how senior citizens can celebrate the holidays. Some suggestions include Christmas crafts like wreath making, board and card games, baking cookies, and sending holiday cards. Senior citizens interested in more physical activities may enjoy going to see holiday decorations or lights displays, as well as attending productions like A Christmas Carol or The Nutcracker.

A Place for Mom, a senior care website, also offers excellent tips on how senior citizens can enjoy the holidays with loved ones. They coined CHEER, a helpful acronym, to help families engage with their older relatives during the holiday season:

C stands for check on their well-being: Be sure to visit your loved one or check in often by phone. 

H stands for help them stay engaged: Invite your loved one to holiday parties and assist them with activities such as shopping or decorating.

E stands for empower them to live independently: Many senior citizens still crave independence even if they require assistance with certain things. You can help them in obtaining a home health aide, meal delivery services, or a medical alert system.

E stands for enjoy your time together: Above all, make sure your loved one is having fun when you visit with them.

R stands for reminiscing with your loved one: Many senior citizens enjoy telling tales about the old days. Allow them to share fond memories of their favorite holiday traditions. If possible, pull out old family photo albums they can share with younger relatives.

Remember that the holidays bring out many emotions among all of us. Seniors have a lifetime full of memories and experiences that they reflect upon during the holiday season –  it’s not too late to help them create new meaningful memories.