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Elderly Loneliness During the Holidays and How Family Caregivers can Help.

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23rd Dec 2016

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Matthias

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As homes adorned with festive lights become prominent fixtures of your nightly commute and local stores seemingly transform into their own holiday village, there is no denying that the holiday season is upon us. This time of year is generally filled with happiness and good will. Unfortunately, it can also be a time of isolation and loneliness for some of our elderly loved ones.

 

Elderly helping at home

 

While aging brings wisdom and cherished experiences, it is also filled with inevitable losses that can take a toll on even the happiest individuals. For some seniors, it may feel as if the world has changed in the blink of an eye as neighborhoods become virtually unrecognizable and spouses and friends fall ill or pass away.  

Fortunately, there are ways family caregivers can provide a positive holiday experience for their elderly loved ones. Agingcare.com stresses the importance of simplifying the holiday season and focusing on the facets of it that are truly meaningful.

 

Cherish Positive Time Together

One of the most valuable gifts you can provide to your elderly loved ones during the holiday season is your time. Life is finite and it is important to cherish the moments that we are able to spend with friends and family. Dedicating just a few hours reminiscing over old photos or videos can have an undeniable impact on the overall well-being of your loved ones.

Family caregiving can be a strenuous task at times, particularly when you have obligations such as your own family or work. However, it is important to avoid displaying these emotions outwardly through tired body language. Your elderly loved ones may already feel burdensome and this will only further exacerbate those concerns. Constantly remind your elderly loved ones how important it is to your family that they participate in the holiday festivities and always emphasize how much they are loved.  

Provide Support

Often times an elderly loved one just needs someone to express their feelings too. Empathy is one of the most crucial components of family caregiving. Even if the conversation carries a negative connotation, it is important to put yourself in their shoes and try to understand the emotions they are feeling. The release of these negative feelings provides more space to be filled with holiday joy.

For example, in the later stages of life, holiday cards may feature news of illness or death. Accompany your elderly loved ones as they open their cards and serve as a support system while they process their emotions. Encourage your elderly loved ones to create their own holiday cards highlighting the positive aspects of their life. This allows them to counteract the negativity and grasp an opportunity to remain connected with family and friends.

 

Be Festive

Decorating your elderly loved one’s home or assisted living facility can help them experience the spirit of the holidays. Start early, and slowly add more items in intervals, so they have something to continually be excited about as Hanukkah or Christmas draws near. Senioradvisor.com has even compiled a list of holiday crafts made for seniors so your elderly loved ones can become involved in the process.  

For some, the smell of gingerbread can transport them back in time to a cherished holiday memory.  You can help your elderly loved one experience the same feeling by regularly providing them with their favorite baked goods or holiday treats. If they are in an assisted living facility, this also provides the opportunity to connect and share their favorite foods with other seniors.

 

Emphasize the True Meaning of the Holidays

The youthful exuberance of a child has the natural ability to capture the true spirit of the holiday season. Frequent visits from grandchildren can significantly impact the overall well-being of your elderly loved one. Additionally, if your parent is an assisted facility, many kindergartens and day care centers may offer to bring children to visit the seniors. The presence of these small children can often brighten the day for a senior and help alleviate physical and emotional pain.

Through this spread of happiness and cheer, you are emphasizing your desire to reinvigorate the real meaning of the holiday season. Remind your elderly loved ones of the values that they instilled in you as a child. It is important to spend this time of year with the people you love and cherishing what you have, as opposed to mourning bad memories.

Spending time together during the holiday season can play an  instrumental role in preventing feelings of loneliness and isolation. Cultivating an optimistic and festive atmosphere, while providing emotional support when necessary, will ultimately allow your elderly loved one to have an enjoyable holiday.

Each year, more seniors desire to remain in their homes as they age. Being confined due to reduced mobility or injury will dampen anyone’s mood, particularly during the holiday season. A Stannah Stairlift will provide you with the comfort of knowing your elderly loved one is able to safely and independently navigate their home and will never miss a cherished family moment during the holidays.  

Visit www.stannah-stairlifts.com to learn more.