Holiday Concerns for Senior Citizens
Holidays are joyous times when families get together, share memories, reconnect and enjoy each other’s company. For families with loved ones in assisted living facilities, retirement or nursing homes, the holidays can be especially joyful as they spend time with their families, recreating the holidays of time gone by. Most senior citizens are happy to participate in a family gathering, but for those who have come to rely on the services provided by an on-call staff, the change in routine can be a hard adjustment.
For the senior patient who is still independent, spending a holiday at a loved one’s home can be an easier change than for those who have come to rely on the staff and activities provided by nursing homes. These patients may require little in terms of helping them with daily care, and may only face the frustration of feeling useless while the rest of the family decorates, cooks or helps with the holiday functions. Be sure to include your independent relative in as much of the holiday activity as possible.
If your relative is less able to care for their own needs, whether medically or otherwise, it may be a good idea to plan to have a home health provider or geriatric care manager stop by to help administer medications or help with physical or occupational therapy. Keep in mind, also, that while a senior citizen may not be as mobile as before, they are still able to participate in holidays. Having activities to complete while sitting may give them the feeling of being included and functional while the rest of the holiday preparations happen.
Nursing home patients, or those with Alzheimer’s or dementia, may be more dependent on the staff, schedule and other activities that occur in the nursing home. While you may wish to include your relative in your holiday celebration, the flurry of activity and people may be too much for them. For these patients, a quiet visit at their nursing home during holiday activities may be just enough for them to feel included, but not overwhelmed.
Including elderly relatives in holiday celebrations is a wonderful way to continue any and all family traditions and keep those people in the lives of their own loved ones. By planning ahead and taking into account their mental, emotional and physical needs, all parties are guaranteed to have a happy holiday celebration.