The holidays are the one time of year that ultimately brings the whole family together. Multiple generations of your family all gather under one roof and enjoy holiday meals, tell memorable stories of the days gone by and appreciate one another’s company. However, celebrating with senior loved ones can often be challenging due to physical limitations or mental health disorders. Here are some tips that will help your senior to safely join in the festivities.
For the Independent Senior
Seniors who remain living independently, safety and careful planning are essential during holiday celebrations. Be sure to consider the following:
- Safety: If celebrating in someone else’s home, your senior loved one may be unaware of hidden dangers that are present. If you don’t take steps to accommodate a senior with mobility problems or physical limitations, safety hazards are created. Be sure to remove potential fall hazards, such as area rugs, uneven carpeting and icy outdoor steps or walkways.
- Show Patience: Older adults generally move at a slower pace, so you should be prepared to accommodate that speed. Don’t rush a senior through his or her meal. Don’t ask him or her to quickly move from room to room.
For the Senior with Alzheimer’s
According to data from the Alzheimer’s Association, calls to their national hotline concerning seniors with Alzheimer’s increases a little more than 10 percent during the November and December holidays. The majority of those calls are about seniors who have wandered off. Here are some tips to ensure the holiday goes smoothly:
- Keep seniors involved: The best thing you can do for a loved one with Alzheimer’s is to include him or her in appropriate activities. This signals that they are cared about and still a vital member of the family.
- Discuss the situation with friends and family members: Before your guests arrive, prepare them for the situation and explain what they can expect from your loved one. You might want to ask everyone to wear a name tag, as Alzheimer’s patients can usually recall faces much better than names.
- Accept help: You don’t have to shoulder all the responsibility during the holidays. Ask for help from family members when you need it and accept help when it’s offered. A little help can go a long way.