Tips to Make The Holidays Special For the Elderly In Your LifePosted on December 25, 2014 by ElderCare Resources in Blog, Caregiver Education, Caregiving, Depression
Include elderly loved ones in your holiday plans
By: Valerie Michel Buck & Jed Winegar
As a caregiver or family member of a depressed older person, make it your responsibility to get involved. The elder person generally denies any problems or may fear being mentally ill, which can make it that much harder to know if the elder person is having any issues. You can help the elder person feel the magic of the season and feel loved by including them in general activities such as:
- Making holiday cookies – Including distributing them to neighbors, family and friends.
- Church Activities – If you or the elderly person is a church goer, churches are filled with holiday activities that need volunteers.
- Shopping – Holiday shopping can be time consuming, but it’s always nice to have a companion.
- Seasonal Crafts – So much to be made in such a little time.
- Vacation – Make it simple or complicated, visit family or even stay in town and see the sites as if you’ve never been.
- Decorating – Decorating a house can be time consuming, pulling out all the boxes and going through everything. Get the kids involved, make a day of it.
- Holiday Parties – It seems like people make the rounds, including an elderly person can help keep them occupied and social.
- Gift Wrapping – It seems like this never ends and it is an easy task.
- Christmas Lighting – Adding indoor lights can help get everyone in the season and aid in relief of Seasonal Affective Disorder.
- Volunteering – Remember to find something that fits the physical limitations of the elderly person. If they love kids, visit a children’s hospital. Feeding the homeless can be fun and humbling.
- Event Planning – Have a party you need to throw, help the elderly person feel productive and useful by making them the party organizer, even if it’s a small get together. Their opinion is important not only to them. Let them delegate tasks to you.
- Gift Making – Making gifts and being thrifty is the new Rolex of gifts, go on Pinterestand find some easy crafts or projects. Their blog will contain cost effective and fun gifts you can make during the season.
- Having a dance or a talent show – Keeping the kids and the elderly person busy, you can organize something easy and offer a fun prize.
- Ballet – This is a beautiful night out that any soul can appreciate.
- Introduce foods with better nutrition – Some depression can be caused in whole or in part by lack of good nutrition. Introduce and share food with the elderly that are high in Vitamins and Minerals. Remember that some foods can affect medications and spark flair ups of symptoms in certain ailments.
- Exercise – Physical limitations of most elderly make this hard. Try simple exercises and work your way up to more complicated ones with time.
- Getting a treatment
- A great haircut or hot shave can make you feel wonderful. A pedicure is a bonus for both men and women, most salons also do a leg massage during the pedicure.
- Friends – It is easy to neglect friends throughout your life, the same happens with the elderly, especially those who rely on a caregiver. Calling their friends and getting them together regularly can be a big help. No one relates better to the elderly, then the elderly. They are a great support system and can recommend items and products to each other to help with their needs.
- Feelings – It can be as simple as asking how are you feeling internally? Not everyone can tell you, most elderly don’t want to burden their caregivers and loved ones. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t ask.
- Fresh Air and Sunshine –
- Cold or warm, sunshine and fresh air is good for the soul, it also helps with Vitamin D.
If an elderly person’s depression is linked to a passed loved one, the holiday season can make things particularly painful but discussing and reminiscing about the departed may result in sharing feelings that many have and need to let out. After the death of Prince Albert, Queen Victoria had maids set out Prince Albert’s clothing for the remainder of her life. Many of us absorb the grief in different ways. The following might help:
- Scrapbooking about the person
- Caring on their story is very important for younger generations.
- Buying the deceased a gift – This can be a reminder of happier times and assist with openly keeping the deceased’s memory alive.
- Making the deceased’s favorite food
- Remembering aloud – Go around the room and each person says what you miss/love about those who have passed. This can help younger generations remember the deceased in a good light and help them manage death better in the later years.