Ahhh….the holidays. For many, the holiday season is filled with excitement and festivities, but for some, it is a time of sadness and loneliness. The elderly may be experiencing grief for a loved one that has passed on, or they are unable to travel or partake in hosting the festivities due to a decline in physical or mental health. There are many things that family and friends can do to help the loved one enjoy the holidays as much as possible. Here are a few suggestions:
1. Speak with the loved one about holidays past.
It may seem that speaking of the past happy times would make a person feel sadder, but the opposite is true. Reminiscing about good memories will likely comfort your loved one. Hearing about the past traditions may give you an idea of how to mimic these traditions and in turn, give your loved one another fantastic holiday season.
2. Help the loved one with the holiday activities.
If your loved one used to be in charge of arranging the holiday traditions yet is unable
all that is need do ed to prepare for the holiday, this can be causing the sadness and stress. Help your loved one with wrapping gifts, assist them with Holiday shopping, write out some of their Holiday cards, bake some of the family recipes, and help them with trimming the tree and cooking the meal. This will ease some of their stress but still let them feel like they are continuing to run with all of the preparations as usual.
3. Plan downtime activities with your loved one.
With all of the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, doing too much may be physically taxing your loved one making them exhausted, sick and possibly injured. Plan a day to see a play, movie or musical. This will keep with the holiday theme, but will also encourage your loved one to get rest and relaxation.
4. Hire a housekeeper for your loved one, or clean their house for them.
Your loved one may not be able to clean or organize their homes due to physical or mental constraints. If they are hosting the holiday festivities, they may feel anxious if their house is not in order. Pay a housekeeper or organizer to come to their house to clean or organize for them. If that is not in the budget, plan a cleaning/organizing day with family and friends to help your loved one get their home in order. This would also be a good time to hang lights and trim their tree.
The best gift that you can give to your loved one is your time, care and concern. Being with your loved one all year round will help them to thrive and feel happiness. Being with them as they go through their challenges, be it the loss of a loved one or loss of their own independence will prolong their health and vitality.