Keeping the Holidays Stress-Free for Your Senior (and You)

The holidays are definitely here! And you may well be visiting your elderly parents, staying with your caree or having seniors visit you. How can you make to and through the new year in the most stress-free way? A little planning and an attitude of “not-sweating-the-small stuff” should help.

Traditions are great and part of why many of us look forward to the holidays. But don’t forget that the reasons traditions are there is to keep families and friends together and happy. So if a tradition is no longer making someone happy, maybe it’s time to alter it. For instance, if it’s the tradition to sit down for Christmas dinner at precisely five o’ clock BUT this year, grandma’s Sundowner Syndrome has gotten worse – is it really so bad to have a Christmas lunch instead?

Because it’s hard to get everyone together very often, we all tend to squish a lot of activities into a small period of time. But maybe it’s better to just focus on one larger thing per day? A trip to the zoo can just be a morning activity, at least for your senior, followed by a meal and then some downtime or naptime in the afternoon. Having your senior there for all the moments is great, but if they’re not enjoying themselves, the moments mean less.

After the holidays are over, and everyone has packed up and gone home, keep the emotional needs of your senior in mind. As startling as the transition to having lots of family and friends around may have been, the transition back to “normal” could be worse. If you’re near your senior, perhaps try and increase the amount of social time they receive. And if you’re far, try and call and check in a little more for the first few weeks. Maybe send a little gift or a note, make sure they know you’re thinking of them all year long.