For the elderly, Christmas time can present as more of a challenge than a relaxing break due to schedules rapidly filling up with meals and celebratory arrangements.
Holidays can highlight difficulties for our older loved ones, as gatherings and social occasions require and great deal of energy and can be an exhausting exercise.
For those who have dealt with the loss of a loved one, Christmas time can trigger feelings of loneliness or sadness, with moments like hanging decorations or writing cards reminding them of their loss.
To make Christmas and New Year celebrations as enjoyable as possible for your vulnerable family members, consider adapting some of these tips:
- Don’t focus on what ‘used to be’
Steer away from talking topics involving how things were done when a certain family member was still alive, as this could be upsetting or cause the surfacing of feelings of loss and grief. Instead turn your attention to creating new memories and living in the moment. Savour the moment and take plenty of photographs, and don’t think about next year or whether or not they will still be around.
- Include them in traditions
Even though elderly people might be a bit less mobile, it doesn’t mean they can’t be involved in things like Christmas shopping, putting up decorations or doing festive crafts. Be patient and take the time to include them in things, chances are it will lift their spirits and be very meaningful. Even taking a drive to see the Christmas lights will no doubt put a smile on your loved ones’ face.
- Communicate the old-fashioned way
Reaching out to your elderly loved ones via the internet or a mobile phone could heighten feelings of loneliness, as can spending large amounts of time using a device while in their presence. Seeing people in person during the holiday season could help them feel more connected and involved in the festivities.
- Alter your approach to Christmas slightly
Consider hosting something low-key at your or your loves ones’ home. Ask guests to bring a dish to share or even order something so no one needs to stress about preparing food. This could help them feel a bit more comfortable and remove any need for them to be involved in large crowds or holiday traffic.