Tips for Visiting with San Francisco and Marin County Seniors This Holiday Season and All Year Long
The holidays offer families a special opportunity to celebrate common bonds. But what about elderly family members who live alone? It is always important to include these individuals in family celebrations. By organizing well-planned and enjoyable visits, friends and family members can help elderly people make the holiday season memorable and meaningful. Here is a list of how to make visits with seniors during the holidays more rewarding for everyone involved:
Probably the most important advice is to truly listen to the words your senior loved one has to say, and to hear the feelings behind these words. Too often, visitors end up doing most of the talking during a visit, but taking the time to really listen is one of the most generous gifts we can offer to an elderly person. This helps your senior family member to feel appreciated, valued, and loved. If the person is unwilling or unable to talk, holding their hand or giving a hug goes a long way.
Do Some Holiday Shopping from Catalogs
If your senior loved one is unable to go out shopping, bring the shopping to them. Bring a variety of catalogs and peruse the pages for holiday gifts. Ask for advice on what to get for other members of the family. Assist the senior in making his or her own purchases.
Listen to Favorite Music Tapes or Old-Time Radio Shows
Bring in some of your senior loved one’s favorite music, including holiday music from the artists of years past, and listen to it together during your visit. A tape player would be a wonderful gift for a senior who doesn't already own one. Holding a carol sing-a-long and recording it would be a memorable way to mark the holiday season.
Bring in a Recipe Book and Plan Several Menus
Many seniors have a long history of holiday entertaining and would enjoy dispensing advice on what to prepare for holiday menus. Bring some cookbooks and review the various recipes. It may also be a fun activity to bring food supplies for preparing holiday fixings together.
Assist with Writing Holiday Cards or Letters
Because of arthritis and vision impairments, many seniors find it difficult to write cards and letters. During the holidays, consider helping your senior loved one prepare cards for family and friends. It may be beneficial to volunteer reading letters your loved one has received, and offering to help write any replies back.
Bring Photo Albums or Other Memorabilia
During a visit, bringing family photo albums, including pictures of holidays past, can spark conversation and wonderful memories. You can also bring meaningful items that will prompt positive memories.
Tape Stories or Create a Life Story Book
Seniors have a wealth of interesting stories to share. Consider tape-recording these stories for future generations to enjoy. Or, try creating a life story book, which would consist of photographs, announcements, newspaper clippings, memorabilia and text placed in a three-ring binder that showcase your senior loved one’s life history.
Help with Holiday Decorating
Visitors can help their senior family member decorate their home or hang up lights. Decorating can become a fun activity for several generations of a family. In addition, your senior loved one may enjoy working on a holiday craft project. A simple craft activity is also a fun project for your senior family member to do with children.
If you observe that your San Francisco or Marin County senior family member may need assistance, please visit the San Francisco Department of Aging and Adult Services here or the Marin County Aging and Adult Services here.
You can also check your senior loved one's home using the guidelines in the Consumer Product Safety Commission Safety for Older Consumers – Home Safety Checklist.
BrightStar Care of San Francisco and Marin County proudly provides Home Health Care and Support for Seniors, including 24 hour in home care, and support in independent and assisted living communities. We provide all levels of home care from companion services to Skilled Nursing. Medical Staffing, Home care, In-Home Skilled Nursing, In-Home Physical Therapy for pediatric, adult and geriatric patients, Companion and Personal Care for Elders with Alzheimer’s or Dementia. We also provide Home Child Care, Sitter and Nanny services for Children and Support for New Mothers. We Support Veterans as a partner of the VA/Veterans administration provider network and are a Home Care Provider for U.S. Department of Labor, Division of Energy Employees and Occupational Illness Compensation. We Accept most Long Term Care Insurance benefits, provide Hospice care, Live-in care, CNA, Caregiver, RN, LPN, RN Supervision, Compassionate Care, and Compatibility Guarantees. We are an ALS Society partner, Alzheimer Association member, and provide care for developmentally disabled and individuals of all ages with mental health and behavioral health diagnosis. Other services include safe discharge and transportation from the hospital or rehab facility, Post Op care both short and long term, Pre-Operation and preparation help and assistance, client monitoring for out of town family members. Our service area covers residents of San Francisco and Marin County, California, including: Sunset and Richmond District, Lake Merced, Potrero Hill, Twin Peaks, Pacific Heights, Castro, Seacliff, Marina District, Telegraph Hill, Financial District, Mission District, Diamond Heights, Forest Hill, Haight-Ashbury, Presidio Heights, Laurel Heights, SOMA, Nob Hill, Russian Hill, Chinatown, St. Francis Woods, Bay View, and Stonestown and the cities of Tiburon, Belvedere, Mill Valley, Stinson Beach, Sausalito, San Rafael, San Anselmo, Ross, Point Reyes Station, Nicasio, Novato, Muir Beach, Larkspur, Kentfield, Lagunitas, Fairfax, Corte Madera, Bolinas, San Geronimo, Marin City, Tomales, and Woodacre.