With the holidays quickly approaching, it’s time to begin thinking about how you want to celebrate them this year and how you want to include your aging loved ones in your celebrations. Since the holidays can be stressful for people of any age, the idea is to make your celebrations as stress-free as possible for you and everyone else.
If You Live Nearby
If you live nearby to your aging loved one, including him or her in your holiday gatherings – and the preparations therefore – adds greatly to the holiday cheer. Some good holiday tips include the following:
- Involve him or her in your event and meal planning.
- Make some of his or her favorite treats.
- Take him or her on short shopping trips that won’t tire either of you.
- Dig out your family photo albums to share.
- Revive your old family traditions.
- Start new traditions.
- Enjoy the moments as they come.
- Be prepared to share sad memories as well as happy ones.
- Keep everything as simple as possible so he or she can go at his or her own pace.
If You Live Far Away
Unfortunately, families can’t always get together physically over the holidays. If your family members are far-flung, consider doing one or more of the following:
- Schedule a family conference phone call for a specific day and time.
- Schedule a Skype or other video session, again for a specific day and time.
- Send greeting cards early enough so that your family members, including your aging loved ones, have plenty of time in which to respond.
Combating the “Holiday Blues”
US News reports that the holidays can be particularly difficult for older adults, especially if they’ve lost a spouse or partner to death. The important thing to keep in mind is that it’s normal for people to feel nostalgic during the holidays. Consequently, it’s okay to feel less than jolly at times.
To keep this natural sadness from turning into full-fledged depression, however, experts recommend that you not ignore the elephant in the room. It’s more than okay to talk about deceased family members and remember them fondly. In fact, doing so can make holiday gatherings even more meaningful.
Specifically, consider doing the following:
- Place a photograph of the deceased person in a prominent place.
- Light a memorial candle in his or her honor.
- Raise a toast to him or her.
- Make a special holiday album that showcases the contributions he or she made to your family.
- Set aside a time during your gathering where everyone who wants to can share memories or funny stories about him or her.
- If you’re Catholic, request a special intention for him or her at a Mass you plan to attend.
If you’d like additional holiday tips or have a particular area of concern with regard to your aging loved one, don’t hesitate to contact us here at Elder Care Alliance, Our mission is to make his or her life, including the holidays, enjoyable, active and inclusive.