The holidays can be a lonely time for older adults. Seniors may miss their relatives and friends, especially those who have passed away. The holiday traditions they practiced for years may look different than they did in the past, and it may feel like the holidays just “aren’t like they used to be.”
Without some planning, the holidays can feel pretty “bah humbug.” However, try the tips below and get ready for a more enjoyable holiday season!
Tip #1: Talk About It
Ask your relative how they are feeling about the upcoming holidays. Listen to their feelings and get a sense of what they want and need. Let them know that it’s okay to talk about their feelings regarding the holidays. Be a listening ear that’s prepared to help them navigate their complex emotions…without judgment.
Tip #2: Favorite Traditions
Chat with them about traditions they enjoy. Maybe they cherish watching a certain holiday movie, baking a particular recipe, or even making a craft.
Tip #3: Stay In Touch
Plan to chat at least once a week…maybe more if it is a difficult time of year for your loved one. Slot it right into your calendar during this busy time of year. Get some activities on the calendar that involve the whole family. These activities can bring back wonderful memories and help seniors feel less isolated and lonely.
Tip #4: Make a Plan
Consider developing a schedule of visits and activities that multiple family members can help with.
Tip #5: Don’t Forget About Snail Mail
Arrange a card shower. Write notes or send photos. Encourage younger family members to draw pictures or stories that may brighten their day.
Tip #6: Deck The Halls!
The holidays with no decorations can feel as fun as a lump of coal in your stocking. Consider helping your loved one decorate. Ask questions about ornaments and listen to their stories. Give them time to share their cherished memories.
Tip #7: Be Creative
Clergy may be able to make a home visit, or perhaps a visit to see therapy dogs would bring a smile to their face. Maybe going for a walk or even some gentle stretching would feel good. If icy sidewalks are a concern, consider visiting a local mall or track. Consider simple activities like getting hot cocoa and looking at holiday lights or decorating cookies.
Tip #8: Be Flexible
If certain elements of holiday celebrations are overwhelming to your family member, make adjustments. For example, if your loved one gets overwhelmed by big crowds, arrange smaller gatherings. If hearing in a bustling restaurant setting is a challenge, maybe it’s a good year to host the family gathering at home.
A little intentional planning can go a long way in making this holiday season an enjoyable one. Take some time to chat with your loved one, make a plan, and get ready to enjoy a happier holiday season this year!
If it is extremely lonely at home for your loved one, consider whether a move to assisted living makes sense. Seniors participate in daily programs and activities that keep them feeling vibrant and connected to others. Whether it’s a healthy chef-prepared meal, a visit to the cafe or beauty salon, a shopping trip with transportation, or a visit to the fitness center, Chatham Place at Mary Wade builds a sense of community that helps our residents feel connected as they enjoy the holiday season. Contact us to learn more.