Holidays throughout the year are filled with excitement and joy. Most families look forward to holiday seasons as a time to gather family together, celebrate and look forward to another year. The holidays bring a time for thankfulness, tradition, reflection and hope.
Traditions bring fond memories; although for families experiencing issues that come with aging family members such as complex medical conditions or dementia the holidays may mean rising concerns with new challenges. Many of us who live a long distance from parents and are in the “sandwich generation” are at an age where we may still be working, have kids, grandkids living in our home and parents who are beginning to experience issues with their health miles away.
This is a time all of us should use to make important observations. Questions such as are your loved ones still dressing like they used to, are they talking louder, how comfortable are they with driving, or do they look as though they are losing weight? You may discover they are having more trouble with simple activities and memory.
Festivities can still be fun for everyone but let’s consider a few things to make them better. Remember hearing issues can make the individual feel isolated, unable to participate and frustrated. Inability to sleep or sleeping excessively can be caused by prescribed medications, digestive disturbances may occur with changes in routines, emotional situations as well as unusual foods. Physical ailments and suffering can take on the appearance of being “grumpy” or “mad”, when the real reason is because they just may not feel well. Stay vigilant, be tolerant, remain patient and make adjustments to help everyone enjoy their time together. Keep in mind we are all aging and will eventually experience some of these changes ourselves.
So how can we make happy holidays for all of the family? A few tips to keep a smile on everyone’s face include:
• Be grateful for everyone in your life and the time you get to spend with them.
• Share what you appreciate about each other; you will be amazed at the reactions.
• Treat each other honorably and with respect.
• Include everyone in the planning and preparations. My mother-in-law with Alzheimer’s and grandchildren make the table decorations.
• Make everyone’s favorite; whether it is cheesy bread or sweet potato pie, it always gets eaten.
• Keep everyone comfortable – a warm environment is best for the elderly so have everyone else dress accordingly.
• Provide a relaxed atmosphere. We have a “free nap” policy which means anyone can take a nap and no one will bother them.
• Another policy is “open snacking”, better known as eat what you want, when you want.
• Ask for stories! Let everyone share their favorite memory. Bring out picture albums or share videos. Watch movies together; Disney is a favorite!
• Have everyone participate in activities. Our grandchildren love the Wii and we have family team bowling, archery, and golf competitions. Our 90 year old mother loves to fly the plane through different fictional places in “Fly Over”.
• Give love and you will find it will expand and grow!
• Make certain to share your appreciation for everyone’s help.
• Have everyone leave feeling good about their time together!
Hope you enjoy every holiday you share. The time together can make you realize your loved one had needs. This can be a difficult time and cause you some distress and anxious moments. We are here simply to help you to help them. FirstLight Home Care has extraordinary caregivers who provide exceptional care. We now have Gift Certificates you can purchase online! This can give you peace of mind; provide safe driving for seniors and dependable care for your aging loved ones. Visit our website to find out more information about our Culture of Care!