If you are caring for an elderly parent, celebrating during the holiday season may not be at the top of your mind. But as life’s seasons shift, the holidays can take on a new meaning and become an opportunity to make new memories with your loved one.
Tips to make the most of the holidays as a caregiver:
1. Adapt your favorite holiday traditions to accommodate your loved one. Have you always loved decorating the Christmas tree together with mom or dad, but the tradition has stopped due to mom or dad’s physical limitations? Try to adapt your past traditions to the capabilities of your loved one. For example, many seniors stop buying a Christmas tree because of the energy, strength and time it takes to decorate it. Instead, try an artificial mini-tree or decorating a small mantle or corner of the house with the same ornaments you used to use on your old tree.
2. Gather at your loved one’s home. Studies show that social interaction provides many health benefits to seniors. Having family gather at your parents’ home can bring joy to your loved one. If you can’t gather at your loved one’s home, make sure that your gathering place can accommodate them. A comfortable place to sit that is front and center of the day’s celebrations as well as a quiet place to take a nap can make all the difference. If mom or dad needs the assistance of medical devices, create a checklist before picking them up the day of so that nothing is missed (ie. breathing aids, medications, monitors).
3. Capture memories & reflect on old ones using technology. Mini Polaroid cameras are back in style and are perfect for taking pictures on the spot that your loved one can keep. Alternative options are phone printers that can print photos directly from your phone. Take the opportunity as a family to look over old pictures and scan them as well for the enjoyment of all.
4. Find time for yourself & seek assistance when needed. Caring for a loved one can be challenging, especially during the holiday season when trying to juggle responsibilities with family, work, and life in general. Scheduling time for self-care can make all the difference. Engaging the help of professionals can also reduce your stress.
The team at Madonna Gardens are always available to answer your questions about care for your loved one, and the benefits of a senior living community. Contact senior lifestyle consultant Cynthia Duvall at (831) 741-4638 and learn more about the lifestyle offered at our community.