Aging During the Holidays
How to Enhance the JOY for YOUR Older Adults During Holidays
With all of the celebrations it brings, the holiday season is the happiest time of year for many people. But it is important to remember that for numerous older adults, the holidays may not bring the same pleasant feelings as they did in the past. This time of year can be quite challenging for older adults and can even be painful. That said, there are a few things you can do this year to help make sure the holidays are pleasurable for everyone in your life.
Be sure to be as inclusive as possible with your older adults before the holidays begin. For example, ask them how they want to be involved with the meals. They may not be able to cook as they did in the past, but perhaps they can help with planning the menu. This can be a meaningful activity for older adults, and it makes them feel more included while honoring the gifts they have to offer.
The holidays also can be a reminder to older adults that many years have passed. This can bring up memories of loved ones who no longer are living, which can be a very tender subject. Be sure to share happy memories and stories with your loved ones during the holiday celebration. If possible, encourage older relatives to share some childhood stories with children who are present at gatherings.
It also is very important to be respectful of the older adults’ needs throughout the holidays. Ask them if they would like to attend services or if they would simply prefer a traditional meal with family. Check to see if they would like to come to your home for family meals or if they would prefer to have everyone come to their home. Many older adults feel much more comfortable in their own homes, as they are more confident in their surroundings. Also, remember not to make the day too long, or the evening too late, as older adults can tire very easily.
For more information about JF&CS’ Tools for Aging programs, call 770.677.9411 or visit www.ytfl.org/aviv