If your loved one is aging, you likely know that long family visits can come with plenty of highs and lows.
As wonderful as it is to spend quality time with senior family members, it can also be a source of stress as you strive to manage both your well-being and theirs. Depression in seniors during the holidays can be managed with thoughtful planning.
Wondering how to help lonely elderly loved ones at Christmas or other busy times? Use the holiday health advice below to help make the most of long family visits.
Manage Diet & Drinks
While festivities often center around rich, celebratory food and drinks, seniors with dietary restrictions may have to say no to total overindulgence. This can be difficult, especially when stress is high and access to healthy snacks is low.
To help seniors follow doctors’ orders, be sure to keep plenty of healthy meal options on hand, like vegetables and fruit. Another helpful option is to balance indulgent meals with lighter ones.
As far as mental health goes, eating favorite foods from the past can spark positive emotions and memories for seniors with memory loss.
Drinking alcohol can also present challenges for seniors, especially those who take medications that may interact with alcohol. Serving alcohol-free drinks that still have a little pizazz, like sparkling fruit juice or mocktails, is a great way to help seniors have fun without risking their health.
And, of course, no matter what your loved ones are eating and drinking, it is always important to stay hydrated with plenty of water.
Take Note of Mobility & Safety
Family visits are a good opportunity to take note of any changes in your loved ones’ changes in physical ability. Decreasing physical ability can be a point of embarrassment or shame for many older adults, so it is important to keep an eye out, rather than waiting for them to ask for help.
Some points to look out for include…
- Pained appearance while moving
- Avoiding standing
- Piling up laundry or dishes
- Unopened mail
- Less frequent showering
Provide compassion and understanding as you broach the topic of additional physical assistance to your loved one. These changes can be difficult to manage for both them and yourself, so don’t be afraid to reach out for support, too.
Finally, between all of the hustle and bustle that can come with big family gatherings, don’t forget to provide plenty of opportunities for rest. Take time to slow down after a long day.
Mid-day breaks are important, too—it can be helpful to build in extra time around activities to ensure small moments of rest. Rest can include naps, sitting quietly, or even just sipping tea or coffee in a comfortable place.
More Tips from Copeland Oaks
Caring for aging loved ones can be difficult and confusing. Copeland Oaks is here to help make sure your senior loved ones are healthy and provide guidance as you navigate this new phase of life.
Visit our blog for more tips from Copeland Oaks.