Holidays are a wonderful time for most of us; we get together with family and friends – some of whom we haven’t seen since the previous year. For the elderly in your family though, the holidays can be stressful, depressing or even confusing, especially if their emotional and physical needs are not taken into account.
Having older relatives means you need to take their health concerns into account, especially if they are traveling to a family member’s house with you. Here are some tips from the home medical alert system providers at LifeFone to help make your holidays merry and safe:
- Prior planning is crucial to a successful holiday visit. If your elderly family members are in an environment that takes them out of their element, you need to plan for downtime where they can slip away from the hustle and bustle of the day and simply relax. Noise and confusion that comes with a large gathering can lead to exhaustion or even irritability in your older relative.
- Take time to reminisce. For many holidays are a time of good cheer and looking forward to the new year. When it comes to elderly relatives though, it could be a time of year that causes them to miss their spouses or other relatives who are no longer with you. Spend some time strolling down memory lane with your elderly relative; engage him in conversation about what it was like when they celebrated holidays, etc. Include them in the conversation and even pull out old photo albums to enhance the memories.
- Build new memories with your relative. Include them in the festivities if possible – let them help with the cooking or decorating or gift wrapping. If you live in an area that offers holiday activities, pack the family up, grab a camera and make new memories to fill an album.
- Rearrange the furniture for ease of movement of your elderly relatives. Just as you’d child proof your home for toddlers, you will want to make your home easy to navigate for your aging relatives. Arrange the furniture in a way that will accommodate walkers or individuals who use a cane. Keep electrical cords out of the way, remove or secure throw rugs, eliminate items that could trip up a relative with balance problems. In the event of an extended out of town visit, make certain you’ve contacted your home medical alert system and make certain your relative is still wearing his or her medical alert pendant in the event of a fall.
- Be purposeful in reaching out to your elderly family members. If they are unable or unwilling to travel to meet with the family for a celebration, take some time to have a mini-celebration to their house. Offer to set up a small tree or hang other decorations. Either deliver or cook a small meal at their house. Do what you can to alleviate their loneliness as the holidays are associated with increased depression in individuals of all ages.
Taking time to include your elderly relatives through the holidays is a great way to help everyone in the family build memories that will last a lifetime and with a bit of prior planning, no one will get lost in the hustle and bustle of the season.