The holidays are times for family, friends and food. Time-honored traditions of gathering with loved ones and sharing in the holiday spirit are things to look forward to, but for some, there can be isolation and even depression in seniors, who can have an especially hard time with the holiday season. There are certain losses that can hinder even the healthiest people, including illness and death among other aging relatives and friends. The holidays can bring this loneliness to the light. For family members and even caregivers, there is hope for our elders. Here are a few ways to cheer elders up for the holidays, according to agingcare.com:
- Listen and understand when they want to talk, even if the talk is negative. Putting yourself in their shoes is important.
- Remind them how important they are as a part of your own celebration and that of the entire family. They may feel like they don't matter around the rest of the family. Make sure to show them they are loved with your words and actions.
- Holiday cards often bring bad news and diminish in quantity. Elders receive plenty of holiday cards, but they can sometimes bring news of illness or death. It's vital to keep up this connection with lifelong friends.
- Help them see that you are trying to simplify the holidays in order to bring back the real meaning of our celebrations. Stress the importance of people and connections, not the material items. Thank them for teaching you the proper values and morals of the holidays.
- If your parent is in an assisted living facility or nursing home, check with local kindergarten or day care centers to see if they can bring children to visit the elders. The beaming energy of a child can help an elder forget about his or her physical or emotional pain.
- Bring traditional baked goods or treats regularly for your elders and their friends to share.
- Call your elders' friends and invite them to the party.
- Spend time with them. This is by far the most essential thing you can do. Look at holiday photos or videos with them, and leave photos with them so they can enjoy them when you are gone. Listen to holiday music. Enjoy their stories of past holidays and the "good old days."