The Holidays are a time of excitement and cheer, but seniors may find the Holidays overwhelming. Seniors also may be thinking about departed spouses and friends, leaving them sad and depressed. Family members need to have a plan in place to address these issues.
"Seniors living alone often feel left out of the Holiday season, so it is important that they are included in family Holiday activities if they are able to and wish to participate. Family visits mean a great deal, so does a visit to the family home. But the home needs to be fall-proofed; hiding electrical cords, tacking down area rugs, and moving obstacles that may trip a senior and cause them to fall," says Mardy Chizek, an RN and Eldercare Navigator and president of Westmont's Charism Elder Care Services, which offers comprehensive eldercare services not available from another single source and is built on results that address medical and daily living issues with dignity and safety. "And make sure that seniors have the proper medication with them, and that meals conform to any dietary restrictions."
If the senior cannot come to the Holiday festivities, bring the festivities to the senior. Most assisted living facilities and nursing homes have areas for family gatherings. They are happy to assist you if you give them a little notice. Seniors love to show off their families and the intergenerational impact of visiting children is apparent in every senior's face.
Chizek also warns that seniors on fixed incomes may try to demonstrate their love by over-spending on gifts. Family members need to set guidelines for spending so seniors don't feel they have scrimped on gifts. They remember the days when they were the gift givers. Just as some families find themselves in credit card debt after the Holidays; it may be especially hard for seniors to pay back gift costs on a fixed income, which can lead to depression and stress.
"The holidays should be inclusive, and that means creating a joyful experience for seniors. If you are unable to visit an elderly family member during the holidays, at least arrange for a homecare aide to provide companionship. There is nothing more important than being with someone during the holidays," adds Chizek.
For more information on holiday elder planning care or home care, visit Mardy Chizek and Charism Elder Care Services on-line at www.charism.net.