The holidays come around every year, making it easy to take how much joy they bring for granted. For older adults, holidays hold special meaning. If you’re caring for or visiting an older loved one during the holiday season, you can do specific things to help make the season brighter and more comfortable. Here’s a simple guide to senior holidays.
Understanding Senior Holidays
The first step in approaching the festive season with more care is developing a deep understanding and appreciation for how your loved one experiences the holidays. Consider that your loved one may have limited mobility or may have had a change in their care needs that has made them feel less independent.
For different reasons, they may feel gloomy about the upcoming holidays, but that doesn’t make these times of year any less special. Your loved one will need even more care and support this time of year.
Why Are Holidays Important to Older Adults?
Holidays become even more important to people in older age because of what they signify. Holiday celebrations focus on themes of love, familial bonds, community, and gratitude. Your loved one has decades of memories and traditions to reflect on during these times, and they might also find a more profound sense of spiritual fulfillment by attending religious and community events.
Making the Holidays Bright for Older Adults
As a caretaker or family member of an older adult, there are certain things you can do to make the holidays brighter. The first and most important thing to consider is that your loved one should feel included during the holidays.
Whenever possible, reach out to the older adults in your life while planning festivities, meals, and events. Consider their circumstances and plan for help with mobility or care if your loved one will be staying with you.
Another way you can support older adults during the holidays is by participating in their traditions and honoring their life stories. Learn a special recipe from your loved one and share their favorite foods. When time is tight, gather around a family photo album and allow your loved one to reminisce about their happy holiday memories.
Navigating the Ups and Downs of Senior Holidays
Moving through the holiday season with grace means you’ll have to navigate ups and downs with the older adults in your life. Whether they are dealing with mobility or financial limitations, not every moment during senior holidays will be happy, which is entirely reasonable.
Some older adults might be grieving during the holidays, and you don’t need to try and make them feel better. Acknowledging the hardships of senior holidays can be very powerful. Sometimes, spending time together is enough to brighten the season.
The Mercy Brown Bag program believes that food is medicine and that no senior in the Bay Area should go hungry. Contact us to learn about what we do and how you can help seniors get the food they need to live a healthy and independent life.