We are upon the season when our thoughts naturally turn toward home, to warm cozy kitchens, the irresistible aroma of cookies and pies in the oven and the anticipation of joyous family gatherings. Typically, this is also the time of the year when attention is often placed upon wide-eyed youngsters and their joyous moments. However, what is often over looked is the effect that traditional holiday season has upon our elders, including those with memory loss.
As hard as it may seem amongst the chaos, it is especially important to be attentive to the needs of elders at this time of the year. Thoughtfully planning multi-generational family activities in which the elder can participate, serves as a gentle reminder as to the important role he or she still plays in the family, and can be the ultimate gift of the season!
While some elders enthusiastically welcome the opportunity to retire from their hosting duties, others have a great deal of difficulty relinquishing the leadership role within their family and becoming a guest. Women who have enjoyed the traditional role of hostess for decades may be especially challenged as they struggle with a perceived loss of identity and the confusion memory loss brings. Families can minimize these feelings by including our loved ones in the early stages of holiday planning and helping them to feel part of the decision-making.
If the hosting torch will be passed this year, be sure to incorporate a few traditions along with the new additions as you prepare to celebrate. Imagine how frustrated your loved one may feel as they long for twinkling lights and a jewel-like tree adorned with the familiar ornaments they’ve collected over the years. A sense of loss over physical and cognitive limitations and the inability to decorate their home like they once did, can further contribute to an elders depression and feelings of inadequacy. Encourage the young ones to help decorate for them! Most would agree there are few life experiences which compare to the wonderment of a child during the holiday season. The magic of believing in the spirit of the season is contagious! For this reason, be sure to plan as many inter-generational opportunities as feasible for your family.
Including elders in these types of holiday activities validates their need for acceptance as a contributing family member even though their current limitations may increasingly cause them to question their importance. Be sure to arrange a cozy, quiet spot for your loved one to rest and take a calming break when needed amidst the chaos.
Most importantly, as the holiday season winds down and family members prepare to depart to their own homes, it is crucial to identify if the elder in your family could benefit from professional care. Midnight Sun Home Care believes every again adult deserves to live the best of their years with the best quality of life and to remain in control of their independence. If you and your family are uncertain whether or not your loved one may need help; we encourage you to please visit our resource page on our website for helpful assessment tools. (http://www.midnightsuncare.com/senior-care-university/)
Happy Holidays from our various generations to yours!