Tips for Caring for Aging Parents or a Senior Loved One During the Holiday Season



The holidays can be a stressful time of year, no matter your age. But for seniors and loved ones who are advancing in years, this season comes with a particular set of potential troubles. Holiday depression is an ailment that can affect people of most any age. Seniors, however, are particularly susceptible.

What used to be a time when your parents were active, with each day was filled with activity and planning events and parties, might no longer be the case. Physical illness might be the reason for a slower holiday season. And for those who are used to being active during this time, the drastic change might trigger a low. Another reason for holiday blues is that as our loved ones age, their circle of close friends may have begun to decline. And the holidays–which are characterised by togetherness–are when they may be feeling these pangs the most.

If you have aging parents, or loved ones who are getting on in years, here are a couple of ways to make sure they don’t succumb to the holiday blues.


  1. Help them be social.

Study after study has proven that humans are social animals. We thrive on contact. For seniors, in particular, social connections keep them healthy. And during the holidays a lack of contact can be especially painful.

According to Denver CO senior concierge services, Lifestyle Management of Colorado, LLC, “Older adults benefit from staying active and socially involved, and a senior services concierge can fill in where each family needs assistance. When family members live locally, getting help with necessary tasks like running errands and household organizational projects frees up time to enjoy activities like playing board games or going to the movies together.” The key to remember here is that you can enlist others’ help. You do not need to be the sole source of socializing for your elderly loved one.


  1. Get them involved in giving.

Giving and helping others is a way for us to focus less on ourselves and what is making us unhappy and look toward the needs of others. Even if your loved ones are advanced in years, brainstorm ways they can give that is within their capacity.

Set up a play date where they read to your children. Or ask them to record reading your child’s favorite book. Simply asking them for advice or counsel on some aspect of the holidays will help them feel included and valued. Think of what they enjoy doing and find a way to let them use that talent to benefit others. It will not only help them feel better about themselves, but it could also help to spread holiday cheer to others who are lonely and who could use a boost.


  1. Plan crucial days in advance.

Thanksgiving, Christmas Day, and New Year’s… These three days carry emotional weight. It might not be possible for you to celebrate each of these important dates with your elderly loved one. So if you can’t, plan ahead. Find a family member or close friend who can celebrate these days with them. Or look for a group or event they can join that will help them celebrate the day without feeling alone.

If you can’t be there, you can still put in a phone call to show you are thinking of them.


  1. Keep them looking forward.

Looking forward to events can generate its own happiness. One way to help seniors bypass holiday blues is to plan for a special event after the holidays are over. This will keep them focused on the future and the fun things that are around the corner, rather than feeling depressed about the present.

Plan a trip to somewhere they have always wanted to go as a holiday gift. Or if you live out of state, already start to plan your next visit so they have something to look forward to.


  1. Give a gift of memories.

Ever feel like you can’t get gift-giving right when it comes to giving gifts to your aging parents or a senior friend? In fact, the opposite is true.

A scrapbook filled with pictures given during the holidays will be looked at over and over again. A picture collage of all your favorite memories will be hung on the wall and help your loved one feel connected with family and friends. Gifts like these are visible proof that they are treasured and thought of. And can help them feel less alone during the Christmas season.



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