Holiday Stress and Seniors
Create a Cheerful Holiday for All Ages
The holiday season can be filled with family, cheer, and joy, but it can also bring feelings of loneliness and stress for many older adults. Travel can be difficult, along with special diets and shopping. Here are some things that you can do to help diminish holiday stress for your older family members and friends.
Food & Dietary Restrictions
As we age, we must take a closer look at our diets and that can make it difficult for seniors to enjoy decadent holiday meals. Foods that require a little extra chewing strength aren’t a great option for seniors. Some foods don’t mix well with certain medications and sometimes, as our digestive systems change, certain foods can cause a bad reaction. A simple solution to the stress-inducing tissue is to talk to any seniors who will be attending your holiday event, and make sure to incorporate foods that can be enjoyed by everyone.
Travel & Limited Mobility
Another common activity during the holidays that isn’t always easy for seniors is travel. Whether family is across town or across the country, limited mobility may prohibit some older adults from finding their way to the holiday gathering. Offer assistance – send someone to pick them up, arrange a cab or uber, or bring the celebration to them. Find out what is easiest for them and try to accommodate their needs. If long distance travel is involved, you can help them navigate the internet to find the best options for plane or train tickets. And if they can’t make it to the gathering, make sure to call them! Or even better, use your favorite video chat program if they have a device that will support it. Let them know that they are loved.
Missing a Loved One During the Holidays
Old or young, if you have suffered the loss of a loved one, the holidays can bring extra feelings of grief. A good way to combat the loneliness or sadness a senior may feel at this time of year is to talk about it. Share your personal happy anecdote about the deceased and ask for more uplifting stories. If you avoid talking about the death of a loved one, it could leave others feeling as if you’ve forgotten or moved on. Let their life be a cheerful memory during the holiday season.
Holidays are cheerful, but they’re also stressful, and the stress can be amplified as we age. Reach out to the seniors that are closest to you, ask about their lives, what they need to eat or travel comfortably. Most importantly, let them know you are thinking about them and they are loved. Make sure holiday stress doesn’t distract from the cheer and joy of the season.