The holidays are a special time of year, where families and friends gather together to express their love and gratitude for one another. But let’s face it: They can sometimes be really “special” — as in outright stressful, and not only for caregivers of the elderly, but also, and more importantly, for the seniors in their care.
With a couple of key strategies in place, a skillfully open and flexible perspective, and the pure desire to enjoy each other’s company during this holiday season, it can be an amazing experience. It’s all about knowing how.
There are literally countless tips you can find online and elsewhere for making the holidays a much easier and impactful time of year in virtually innumerable ways. However, in honor and support of all caregivers of the elderly out there looking to make an especially positive difference during their gatherings this year, we’ve done a heaping helping of the research for you to get you started on the right foot early.
Here are just a few:
Give the Most Precious Gift: Time
Rather than planning around a senior loved one, make that senior the center of focus. Prepare his or her favorite meal or allow grand- and great-grandchildren to present an homage. It’s all about celebrating togetherness.
Of course you like your festivities to run a certain way. Who doesn’t? But instead, be open this year to making simple modifications that will go a long way toward expressing your love and concern for your aging loved one. They’ll appreciate this accommodation more than any gift.
Expand the Festivities
If a senior resides at an Assisted Living community, bring a portion of your holiday festivities there. Or perhaps arrange for professional transportation to bring the senior to you, and have a home health aide hired for the afternoon.
Don’t Try to Be a Hero or Heroine
Ask for help. Don’t be a martyr and attempt to shop it, deliver it, cook it, design it, wrap it, hang it, or basically “do it” all by yourself. Reach out for help and then accept it in any way it comes. The less stressed out you feel, the less stressed out (or, worse, personally culpable!) your senior will feel.
Turn Trial Into Triumph
Having the right perspective going in can make all the difference in the world. If you see your festivity as a marathon that needs to be survived at all costs, then you’ll be focusing on all the wrong things: every challenge will feel like an obstacle. Rather, draw from an inner spirit that looks from the outset for opportunities to succeed. You’ll then, instead, be focused on how you can make things better for all involved — especially your senior guests.
Finally, sit down with your family prior to the day and make a simple plan. If you’re all on the same page about the major things, the minor things will fall into place.
Cheers to all you caregivers out there and the extraordinary loved ones you look after. We wish you all a healthy, happy and, above all, stress-less holiday season this year!