Five Ways to Help Seniors Enjoy the Holidays

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Many times, the holidays can become a depressing time for older adults.  When loved ones have passed on, memories remain, and sometimes cause pain.  As seniors age, they are not able to do as much as they once were.  This can also cause feelings of sadness.  Here are a few tips to help seniors enjoy the holidays. 

1. Minimize Stress 

With all of the activities and obligations one can get overwhelmed quite easily at this time of year.  Try not to overextend yourself with parties or gatherings.  Try to only spend what it in the budget when it comes to purchasing gifts.  Making gifts such as afghans, quilts, crafts items, or ornaments, are a favorite among many families. 

2. Get Involved 

Helping your loved ones decorate the house for the holidays is a great mood lifter.  When family gathers together to put up the tree, watch some old family favorite Christmas movies, and share in a few memories over a hot cup of cocoa, magic happens.  Baking cookies, preparing meals, and gift wrapping are others ways to keep busy while getting involved in the spirit of the season.  Checking in on senior loved ones is a must during this time of year.  Take them to church, family gatherings, or simply reaching out to them to let them know how important they are to the entire family is crucial.   

3. Removing Obstacles 

When planning a party or family gathering be sure there are no accident hazards.  Those cute throw rugs that Kohl's sells this time of year are only cute at Kohl's.  Do not place furniture in such a manner that loved ones can get caught up or trip.  Also take into consideration the weather.  Seniors are colder natured and require a warmer environment.  Seniors eyesight can cause accidents if in an unfamiliar environment.  Make sure that when any mobility device such as canes and walkers are used in the snow or ice, that one has their hands on them as they walk to ensure their safety. 

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4. Memories... 

Always, always, always, talk about memories of years past.  When one has fond memories of holidays and shares it can be helpful to elevate his or her mood.   

5. Music is my favorite. 

Studies show that music is much more than notes on a page, a song on the radio, or Pandora streaming through your children's blue tooth speakers.  Music can soothe or energize, make us happy or sad, but the kind we like to hear does something that can be positively reinforcing or otherwise we would not listen to it (Klemm, 2015).  Studies are showing the correlation with music therapy and memory enhancement.  Play music, dance, sing, and laugh together. 

Let the senior loved one in your life guide you on how to best help them get the most out of the holiday season.  Bake some cookies, share some laughter, and most of all make new memories while holding onto the cherished older ones.  Happy Holidays. 

Reference:

Klemm, W. R. (2015). Music's effect on cognitive function of the elderly. Psychology Today. Retrieved from: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/memory-medic/201504/musics-effects-cognitive-function-the-elderly