Guest Column

Help Older Adults Have a Happy Holiday Season

When everyone is considered, holidays are happier. Credits: Huffington Post

Although the holidays are a magical and exciting time of year, it can also come with its fair share of stress. Between travel, social engagements, shopping, and a million other to-do’s, it can get very overwhelming very quickly. This is often especially true for seniors. Below are a few tips to help older adults combat that stress and have a great holiday season.

  • Build In Extra Time – With all the things to do this month, it can get very tiring both physically and mentally. Make sure not to over book, allow plenty of rest time throughout events, as well as extra time for travel.
  • Try to Keep to a Schedule – Older adults are often use to a set schedule; certain time to wake up and go to bed, certain time to eat, specific times to take medicine, etc. It is important to keep that in mind and respect that when planning your holiday festivities. Going too far off that schedule can be very difficult for seniors to acclimate to.
  • Keep Friends and Family Around – The holidays can often be a very difficult time for the older adult population, especially for those that have lost loved ones. Isolation during this time can be damaging, so it’s important to keep seniors involved to help them through this potentially difficult emotional time of year.
  • Pay Attention to Drinking Habits – All the parties over this season often come with more alcohol consumption. Keep an eye out for this and monitor the amount of alcohol a loved one may be consuming. Alcohol often interferes with different medications that a person may be taking, as well as impair judgement of that individual to keep on their needed schedule.
  • Take a Walk Down Memory Lane – Holidays often bring up a lot of memories. Going through memories and doing a “life review” are essential parts of a healthy aging process. Older adults that have memory problems often have difficulty remembering more recent daily events, but will often be able to share tons of stories from the past. These shared moments are not only important for them, but also for the youth in the family and help in fostering that connection between the generations.
  • Create New Memories - As wonderful as it is to stroll down memory lane, it is also just as important to create new memories. It’s always important to have something to anticipate. Add something new to the holiday celebrations and include everyone in on the beginning of that family tradition.

Older family members and friends can sometimes get lost in the hustle and bustle of the holidays, so just remember to always be sensitive and loving, and plan ahead this festive season.

The opinions expressed herein are the writer's alone, and do not reflect the opinions of or anyone who works for is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the writer. Click here to submit a Guest Column.

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