Celebrating the Holidays with Aging Parents
Celebrating the Holidays with Aging Parents
The holiday season is supposed to be a time of great cheer and happiness spent with family and friends, but for many it can bring great amounts of stress. You may be a parent who is responsible for your children as well as for your aging parents. Trying to juggle your usual responsibilities along with the pressures of the holidays can be daunting.
At Greystone, we understand that certain times of year can be more hectic than others, and you only want to do what is best for your family. For older adults, the holidays can be a reminder of friends and family who have passed, so it’s important to try to make this season merry and bright. That’s why we’re sharing a few ways to make it a full and joyous holiday season for everyone. Even it if means condensing your list to the main essentials and making sure everyone can be a part of your family traditions, you don’t have to be overwhelmed. That’s why we came up with these ideas for helping you and your family enjoy every moment the holidays bring.
During this time and all throughout the year, finding positive ways to cope with aging parents is a significant step for your family. Much as when you were a child, it’s important to listen to what your parent is saying to you. Although at this time of life, there may be a bit of a role reversal, you will need to pay attention to their needs as they adjust to what will be their new normal. Allowing your parents to remain as self-sufficient as possible and letting them be the primary decision maker for their own care for as long as they can is crucial to their peace of mind. Make a point to ask for their assistance or expertise with a personal quandary, or simply with planning holiday meals or festivities to remind them what an integral part they play in the family and your life.
Make sure your elderly loved ones are a big part of the festivities, while keeping stress to a minimum. Plan some activities that are relaxing, such as sipping a favorite seasonal beverage while watching a classic holiday movie. In addition, take times to chat or just visit for a while. Sometimes it’s those more peaceful moments that become the most treasured. Although we understand that there will probably be times that bring much more action than the older adults are regularly exposed to, remember to provide a refuge for them to retreat to as needed.
Carve out time to have a big family celebration together. If possible, have your aging parent help create the menu, assist the next generation with baking a favorite cookie recipe or have a potluck dinner where everyone can bring their signature dish. To have an instant recipe for success, include a playlist of traditional holiday songs that everyone can sing along together. Even if the older adult in your life has Alzheimer’s or dementia, music can improve memory and increase cognitive function. Music has a special way of bringing people of all ages and abilities together.
For those older adults who live in nursing homes, schedule a time that works for all of you and bring some holiday cheer along with you. If you have children or grandchildren, bring them along for the visit and have them leave behind a piece of artwork or school picture to help keep the merriment alive even after the visit is over.
When the elder in your life is homebound, make sure they are entertained throughout the holiday season as well. Keeping them engaged and active is key to a better quality of life all throughout the year. Bring joy to their holiday season by decorating their living space, or sharing a favorite holiday beverage, song or meal. If your homebound senior is willing to have company for festivities, invite small groups of friends and or family for some holiday fun. You could have younger children or grandchildren visit to sing carols together or make a craft, such as ornaments for their tree or decorations for their living space. The adults could have fun recipe swapping or baking together. Friends may enjoy a tea party or playing board games. You can also gather family members together for a holiday movie or storytelling of traditions from years past. Plan activities and times that will work with the older adult’s abilities and schedule to create a fun holiday season.
If you are the primary caretaker for an older adult who needs 24-hour care, then a little help from Respite Care during the holiday season may be in order. Just as parents get a sitter for their children so they can have a night out, our Respite Care services allow you the time you need to finish your gift shopping, get your house in order or just go for some much-needed pampering. The best part is that your loved one will be taken care of by trained nursing professionals, and you can decide if you would rather have in-home care, all-day out-of-home care or overnight stays at a skilled nursing facility. This type of care is for both of you can ease your stress, allowing you to make the most out of your holiday time together.
For loved ones who live further away, having a virtual holiday party may be the way to go. Sites like FreeConferenceCall.com provide you with a way to connect with multiple people in different places. With this video conferencing tool, everyone can get together for some holiday cheer. Just set up an account, and send the connection information and a time that works for everyone.
The best holiday gift for everyone involved is the presence of family being together, all wrapped up in each other’s love. From all of us at Greystone Health, we wish you all a very happy holiday season.