“I hate to admit it, but I am already dreading the holidays. There’s so much to do, and on top of that, I have to figure out how to include my father in the festivities. Do you have any advice to make the holidays with seniors easier?”-Louisa from Mountain Park

You are not alone; many people find the stress of the holiday season overshadows the joy they think they should be having. Your stress level can be compounded by spending the holidays with seniors who may be struggling as well. The answer to your question is simple: simplify your holidays.

Where to Begin

Imagine a season that took less time and money, reduced the preparations, avoided the lines, eliminated the traffic, and lessened the debt? You can make it happen if you lower your expectations, keep it simple, and let go of the need to overdo. Instead, concentrate on those abstracts that provide joy, such as gratitude and compassion. Your peacefulness can help your senior as well because your loved one may also be struggling with high expectations or loneliness. Depression can be a big issue for seniors this time of year, and your awareness may help your loved one feel connected, loved, and valued.

Start with You

If you want a “less is more” holiday season, you should begin with self-reflection. What are you willing to do, and what are you willing to give up? When you prioritize your to-do list, you may find some items that are more chore than reward. Eliminate those things that don’t serve you, and instead focus on what matters.

Self-care and mindfulness could be the greatest gifts you get this year, and they don’t cost a thing. These ideas may also help you keep your celebrating simple and satisfying:

  • Balance your holiday eating with healthy eating
  • Drink in moderation
  • Continue to exercise
  • Don’t skimp on sleep
  • Relax and rest when you can
  • Be positive

And Your Senior Too

Holiday celebrations can mess up any sense of routine in your loved one’s life. A regular schedule provides a touchstone for seniors who have physical impairments, medical conditions, or cognitive changes or dementia. You should decide when enough is enough so that your father does not feel overwhelmed.

How do you create a meaningful experience without creating stress? Begin with a conversation; talk to your father about what makes the holidays special and how he would like to celebrate. He may not want to be included in absolutely everything, and that’s okay. See what traditions your loved one enjoys and try to incorporate those into your plan.  Chances are good that your father would prefer quality time with beloved family members over a perfectly decorated home and rich foods. You can also create new traditions to make holidays with seniors more meaningful, including:

  • Opting for small gatherings of a few people instead of large family parties
  • Read holiday cards and look through photo albums together
  • Discuss any favorite foods to prepare or small decorations to display that are special for your senior
  • Watch beloved movies or listen to holiday music
  • Limit the amount of time for visiting from all day or evening to a few hours
  • Bring family members to visit if your loved one is in a residential facility

Seniors may not be the most adaptable generation, and expecting them to be able to change or be flexible can lead to frustration and disappointment for everyone.

Hopefully these tips can take away some of the stress you feel and get you and your father on the same festive page.

Happy Holidays!


0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *