The holiday season tends to carry changes in routine, decor, diet, and more. For seniors, these shifts can hinder safety and make the season stressful. Use these tips to ensure seniors have a happy, healthy holiday.
Tips for A Safe and Happy Holiday Season for Seniors
Mental and Emotional Health Tips
Although holidays like Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, and New Year’s can be happy and celebratory, these holidays can feel lonely for many seniors. Increased instances of moods and depression can result.
Help seniors stay safe mentally and emotionally:
⦁ Encourage social activity, even if through technology like video chatting
⦁ Offer holiday activities, like decorating, crafting, or selecting gifts
⦁ Make healthy versions of holiday food favorites
⦁ Ask seniors about their traditions and memories
⦁ Help by listening, sympathizing, and reminding them of their faith or values
Top Challenges to Holiday Safety
Some of the biggest challenges for seniors during the holidays include:
⦁ Traveling alone
⦁ Disrupted routine
⦁ Missed medications
⦁ Unhealthy diet
⦁ Time spent sedentary
⦁ The expense of gifts
⦁ Too much activity
Holiday Travel Safety for Seniors
Visiting with loved ones during the holidays is often a source of joy but traveling can be hard on seniors.
⦁ Those planning to travel should:
⦁ Talk to a doctor ahead of time about health concerns
⦁ Ask for enough medication to cover time away and questions about time zones affecting medication schedules
⦁ Wear compression socks if flying or spending a long time in the car
⦁ Bring copies of important documents like health insurance and emergency numbers
⦁ Give copies of travel itineraries to loved ones
⦁ Carry medications and essential items on the plane or in the car in case of travel disruptions.
⦁ Wear a medical ID if needed
⦁ Use hand sanitizer and wash hands to avoid germs
⦁ Ask for an escort or wheelchair to help navigate airports safely
⦁ Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated
(Health in Aging)
Home Care Tip:
For seniors with memory-related issues, breaks from routine can be especially problematic. Caregivers can help seniors by writing things down, especially a schedule during the holidays. Setting automatic reminders for medications can also be helpful.