Helping Seniors Stay Positive Through the Holiday Season
Ideas for Family Members and Loved Ones
The holiday season is typically thought of as a happy, cheerful time of year—but for many, including our older family members, this time of year can be difficult. The holidays can worsen feelings of isolation and loneliness, particularly when seniors look back on fonder memories. If the older adults in your life no longer live at home, they may feel even more detached from the traditions of the season. Fortunately, there are some things you can do to help them feel involved and experience the joy of the holidays.
Help them get ready for a family gathering. This is a day when they should feel good and confident. Help them select a festive outfit, make sure it is clean and pressed for the occasion, and offer to help style their hair or do their makeup.
Include older family members as much as possible. Sometimes this is simply ensuring that they are present for the event, comfortable, and safe. If they cannot stand for long durations to cook, find other ways of including them: planning the menu, taking on a task from a seated position like cutting out cookies or rolling dough, or making table decorations.
Make a favorite treat. If your loved one has a preferred dessert, appetizer, or family dish that they remember from their earlier years, consider making it as a surprise—or even better, making it together and writing the recipe down for future generations.
Look at family photos. Nostalgia runs high during the holidays, and this can be coupled with feelings of sadness. Flip through old photo albums together. Give your loved one an opportunity to tell you about those they love and reminisce over the past in a positive way, which can be comforting especially this time of year.
We encourage you to plan ahead for how you will engage the older adults in your life this holiday season. It is so important that we make them feel loved, celebrated, and included.