There are simple ways you can support an aging loved one you know and help seniors enjoy the holidays a little more this year. For most, the holidays bring feelings of joy, anticipation & excitement. Spending time with friends an family attending holiday gatherings and exchanging gifts all symbolize the season of goodwill. However, close to 18 million seniors live alone. Many often struggle with grief over the loss of a loved one, sadness, confusion and isolation, especially if they do not have family close by. This can bring on the holiday blues and make it difficult for seniors to enjoy this time of the year. Whether it’s an aging parent, friend or neighbor, there are simple ways you can help seniors enjoy the holiday a little more this year.
BE A COMPANION. Make it a point to visit and spend time with a senior(s) loved one. Participate in an activity, play their favorite game or ask them to tell you about their life. You can give a puzzle with the grand-great grand kids pictures on it. Make a Family Tree by printing out pictures of family and relatives & create a Family Photo Tree! Go to Tapestry Family Tree (thetapestree.com) or Simple Shapes Family Tree Wall Decal ($99), at Amazon.com. Storytelling and memory sharing is a great way to lift a senior’s spirit and important to the aging process. Listen to music, take them to a movie, play or out for dinner. You can also help them Skype. Zoom or Facetime so they can visit with out of town family or friends.
BE A CHEF. Prepare one of their favorite meals and stay to visit. Invite them to your home and help prepare a dinner with family and friends. Make a favorite recipe together. Family members need to include their loved one(s) and let them help with placing the table (for Memory patients…let them fold napkins, place silverware (with assistance if needed), be part of watching the cooking for the holiday meal(s).
BE A HOME HELPER. For some senior, housework can be difficult due to their mobility. Helping them around the house by cleaning, de-cluttering and picking up anything on the floor that could be a tripping hazard to ensure their safety. Help with yard work if needed by getting the outdoor Christmas decorations ready. (Keep it simple)
BE A CHAUFFEUR. About one in five seniors over the age of 75 do not drive. Offer to take them to the store, movies, doctor appointments, dental check ups and eye exams. If possible help take them to their senior center, volunteer opportunities and holiday events so they feel comfortable knowing there is someone to safely transport them…quality time.
BE SANTA’S LITTLE ELF. Help with setting up and decorating their Christmas tree or helping with putting ornaments on the tree. Help decorate their living area, or help with gift wrapping and write /mail their holiday cards. Make holiday cookies together.
The holidays can get busy, hectic and overwhelming for all of us. It’s important to remember what the holidays are all about—a season of peace, joy and giving! Remember the aging senior in your life. Just by spending time with them you can help them have a happy and joyous holiday!
Merry Christmas/Hanukkah to All! Keep Christ in your heart!!
Brenda Dever-Armstrong, CEO/Owner/CSA
The Next Horizon Seniors & Military Advocate/Resources/Services/Locator, www.nexthorizonlocators.com