Ensuring Elderly Loved Ones are Cared for this Holiday Season
The holidays are an incredible time to catch up with family. As you visit with your loved ones, take the time to check in on their well-being.
It’s especially important to make sure your elderly family members are cared for. Use this time together to see if their care needs have changed, and take steps to ensure they stay safe and happy over the holidays.
Look For Changes
Your loved one may say they’re fine, but dig a little deeper. Look for changes in their home, hygiene, and personality.
If you are visiting your elderly loved one, look around the home. Is it being well kept? Is food expired?
If hygiene has become a problem, this could be a sign that they need more caregiving assistance. When was the last time your loved one bathed?
Changes in personality can also signal that their care needs have changed. Are they showing more irritation or forgetfulness? Are they uninterested in activities they used to enjoy?
Keeping Them Safe
If your senior relatives are traveling to you, do your best to make sure that their surroundings are safe. Falls are all too common during holidays. Check floors for things that could be tripped over. Throw rugs, clutter and electrical cords should all be moved out of pathways. Make sure the lighting in the house is bright, and keep items that might need to be used frequently within easy reach.
And if you're traveling to them where icy conditions outside are a usual occurrence, you can make the home safer by clearing ice and snow from walkways and steps.
Plus, if you do travel to your loved one’s house, keep in mind that you and other people in the home could inadvertently create fall risks. To avoid this, don’t clutter rooms with too much additional furniture and make sure walkways remain clear.
Support Emotional and Mental Well-being
For some, the holidays can be difficult emotionally. Many older adults feel lonely and sad. These holiday blues can lead to irritability and fatigue. Regardless of your loved one’s caregiving needs, there are things you can do to help support their emotional health.
This holiday season, keep your loved ones involved so they feel needed and special. Invite them to help plan some of the food or decorations or even do the cooking or decorating if they are able. Put one of their favorite foods on the menu, perhaps a nostalgic food they grew up eating on Christmas Eve. Treat them to a day of pampering. There’s nothing like a spa day and a fancy outfit to lift spirits.
Reminisce over holidays past. Pull out a photo album and remember those happy times. If some of those photos bring up grief, that’s OK. While you may feel as though you should avoid sad memories, it can be healthy to release those feelings, especially in a safe space with you.
No matter how you celebrate the holidays, keep your elderly loved ones involved and enjoy the present moment. Be sure they are well taken care of. If you notice any concerning changes, it may be time to contact a professional to conduct an assessment. Once you know their care needs, you can find the right services to ensure their well-being all year long.
As a family transition specialist, I am here to support your needs for transitioning aging loves ones into a safer environment. Please connect with me today so I can help answer any questions you may have.