The holiday season is upon us! Time to break out the Christmas decorations, string lights, eggnog, and cozy winter sweaters. ‘Tis the season to be merry! Christmas is a wonderful opportunity to spend time with family. However, for many seniors, the holidays are often thought of as confusing, stressful, and in some cases saddening, especially in those suffering from seasonal depression or the loss of a loved one. Make this Christmas season special for the entire family by contributing these 5 tips to happier holiday and add more joy for the senior in your life:
1. Take a trip down memory lane. Stories are a great way to engage with seniors, as they have quite a few. As you spend time with your senior loved ones, ask them questions like, what were your family traditions when you were younger? Comparing differences and similarities is a great way to bond over Christmas dinner. Seniors love to share memories of happy times. Likewise, it can be great for the youngsters to hear about what it was like when the seniors were their age.
2. Cherish your time. Always cherish the seniors in your life and make quality time for them, especially during the holidays. At Regency, we encourage families and friends to spend time together. Whether that be a Christmas dinner, a drive out to see the magical winter lights, nativity scenes, or a candlelight church service. Just remember to have fun, chances are they will, too! Just a few minutes of uninterrupted, quality time is a lifetime of appreciation and happiness for seniors.
3. Recognize Depression. Experiencing some degree of depression around the holidays is extremely common in aging seniors. If you believe that the senior in your life might be experiencing seasonal depression this Christmas, we encourage you to make time for them. Don’t ignore the warning signs – let us know how your Regency family can help in any way!
4. Be mindful. For many seniors suffering from memory loss, the holidays can be confusing time. Be mindful that they may not remember certain past events or sometimes even names or how they are related. Use caution to not make them feel anxious or elevate confusion when they are experiencing a memory lapse. If it appears they do not remember, simply share the memory with everyone. Chances are they may not be the only one to have forgotten.
5. Ask them to help out in some small way. Our senior residents love getting the chance to help, even if their contribution is small. Include them so they feel needed by asking for a helpful hand or words of wisdom this holiday season. Give them the task of setting the dinner table, stirring the gravy, or if your senior is in a wheelchair, they can help out by peeling the potatoes. You can also include them in the traditional lighting of the Christmas tree. Gather the family around to watch the illumination kick off the holiday season. While many seniors are unable due to physical limitations, there are still many ways even older folks can help with.
Whatever the season holds for you, Regency Senior Living is honored to celebrate these special times with you and your family.
Written by: Katie Hanley