A Short Guide to Giving Your Senior Loved One the Best Holiday Experience

It seems like yesterday you were watching mom prepare the turkey and dad getting the lights ready for tonight’s festivities. There’s nothing that brings a family together like the holidays. Now that your loved ones are no longer as capable as they were before, it’s time for you to give back by preparing a safe and memorable holiday for them.

Make the House a Safe Area

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that falls are the leading cause of serious injuries among adults aged 65 and up. This is why it’s important to take measures in making their living area safe. If your parents are coming over for the holidays, have them stay on the first floor of the house. Make an effort to hide electrical cords and throw rugs. Ensure that the whole house is well-lit. The same goes if you’re the one coming over. If your loved ones are receiving care from senior home assistants in Queens, ask them how you can lessen hazards in the house.

Get Them Involved in Holiday Preparations

Your senior parents might not be as physically fit as they were back then, but they’ll still enjoy helping out. Instead of having them stay at home, ask them if they want to come with you for grocery and gift shopping. They might enjoy their afternoon shows on TV, but they’d much rather be with you and assist with dinner preparations — they don’t see you often enough. Getting your loved ones involved in holiday preparations is more than about keeping them active. It’s also about strengthening your bond with them, especially if you only get to visit once in a while.

Create a Healthy Feast

a senior woman

The holiday season might be tempting you to indulge in a heavy diet of beef tenderloin, pecan pie, and eggnog. But they’re all red flags when you’re cooking for your senior loved ones. Try cooking vegetarian spaghetti with whole wheat pasta to keep them energized for the celebration. Keep things fresh with a spinach salad with a healthy cheese like parmesan or ricotta for better digestion. And don’t worry, the roasted turkey can stay on the menu. White meat is a healthy source of protein.

Listen to Their Stories

If your aging loved one is living alone all year, take the holiday season as a chance to have them open up to you. Calling them now and then isn’t enough. A 2012 study published in JAMA Internal Medicine concluded that loneliness is linked to worsening impairments in senior citizens. Even if your loved one talks about negative things, do your best to listen. Reassure them that you’re there for them. If your senior companion still feels down, bring out one of your old photo albums and revisit good memories.

A lot of patience goes into making the holidays fun for your aging parents or loved ones. If preparations are getting too stressful for you, take a break. Even if you don’t want your loved ones to see your frustration, they’ll still feel it. Ease tensions by sitting down and watching TV with them or talk to them about how the year went. As much as they appreciate a fun holiday celebration, the greatest gift you can give them is your time and presence.

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