How Can You Help a Senior With Increased Limitations During the Holidays?

Posted: 11/30/2016 10:14 AM by Interim HealthCare
Being a family caregiver for an elderly adult who is dealing with new challenges and limitations is not easy at any time of the year, but can be particularly challenging during the holiday season. This is a time that is filled with tradition and nostalgia, and not being able to participate in the celebrations in the same way that they used to can highlight their issues for your parent. This can lead to emotional health concerns and diminished quality of life throughout the holiday season, and potentially worsen their health concerns even after the holiday has come to an end. Helping your parent cope with their increased limitations and deal with not being as involved with the holidays can help them to manage their mental and emotional health and ensure that you are able to enjoy this time of year together in the best way possible.

Use these tips to help a senior with increased limitations deal with not being as involved with the holidays:

Talk to them about it. This is an uncomfortable and potentially sensitive topic, but not one that you should avoid. Pretending that the changes do not exist or that they do not matter will only leave your parent feeling isolated and disconnected, worsening the situation. Instead, be honest and open, and talk to your loved one about what they are going through. Acknowledge their limitations and how it will change the holiday, and allow them to express their emotions in a healthy and productive way.

Identify the most difficult issues. While talking to your aging loved one about their limitations, make an effort to identify the changes that are most difficult for your senior. Find those changes and restrictions that they are most upset about and that will impact their holiday the most significantly. This might be them not being able to cook the meal on their own, or not being able to decorate the home. They might not be able to play in the family football game or participate in one of the traditional activities. By identifying these particularly upsetting issues, you can better work toward modifying the holiday toward their needs and helping them to enjoy it as much as possible.

Make new traditions. Work with your parent’s needs and limitations to find new ways to celebrate the holidays that they can be fully involved in. Integrate these into the traditional holidays that you will already celebrate so that you can start new traditions with the whole family. For example, your loved one might not be able to spend the whole day in the kitchen cooking the feast anymore, but they might be able to sit with the children and decorate cookies to enjoy as a snack before the meal or for dessert. They might not be able to play in a front yard football game, but they could participate in a living room board game tournament. Finding these new traditions will keep your aging parent engaged and involved, and maintain the family focus of the holiday.

If you have an aging loved one in need of senior care contact a local Interim HealthCare office.