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Five Tips to Make the Holidays Easier

The holidays may create certain challenges for seniors. If you have a senior in your life the following tips will help you recognize some of these challenges as well as offer ways to alleviate the stress they may cause.

Published: Feb 25, 2014

Five Tips to Make the Holidays Easier

The holidays are a joyous time that inspires feelings of togetherness, fond recollections of the past and hopes for the future. Gatherings with family and friends are sure to lift spirits of all ages as they create new memories.

The holidays may present certain challenges for seniors. Some are common, while others are unique to the individual. In any case, all the holiday cheer could cause seniors to feel stress and upheaval. If you have a senior in your life, whether family or friend, the following tips will help you recognize some of these challenges and offer ways to alleviate the stress they may cause.

Cooking for Holiday Gatherings
Cooking large meals for holiday gatherings may be difficult for a senior to accomplish. She's grown used to cooking small meals and could be unable to orchestrate something much bigger. Offer to help plan and prepare the meal together. This takes the pressure off of the senior and provides bonding time for you both. A less stressful alternative may be to host the dinner in your own home or to ask guests to bring favorite prepared dishes to share.

Traveling to Holiday Events or Parties
Occasionally gatherings may require travel, whether in or out of town. Driving, especially at night, intimidates seniors with poor vision. Offer to attend parties or events with seniors, so they feel more comfortable.

Dealing With Loneliness and Isolation
Some seniors, especially those who have lost spouses or beloved friends, experience increased loneliness during the holidays. Others become mildly depressed for the same reason, which can lead to isolation. To help keep this from happening, make sure to visit seniors often during the holidays. Offer to take them to holiday events. Have fun baking holiday goodies together. Even helping address holiday cards and chatting over a cup of warm apple cider can lift everyone's spirits.

Helping With Presents
Giving gifts has become a hallmark of the holiday season. However, presents can cause seniors stress for various reasons. Some are on limited budgets and unable to purchase gifts for all family members. Shopping at crowded stores overwhelms others. Still other seniors have problems wrapping gifts because of arthritis and other medical issues. You can help by suggesting a gift drawing to alleviate cost burdens for all. Offer to join seniors on a shopping trip to assist in choosing gifts and navigating crowds. Or, ask the seniors in your life to provide you lists and do the shopping for them. Encourage the use of gift bags instead of wrapping presents or plan a present-wrapping afternoon, so you can help.

Hiring a Caregiver to Assist
The bustling holiday season is the perfect time to consider hiring a temporary caregiver to help with all elements of holiday preparations. These organizations offer seniors assistance in areas of light housekeeping (including putting up decorations), meal preparation, transportation to social functions and stores, and even addressing cards and gift-wrapping. This might be especially important if your senior loved one lives far away from family.

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