Helpful Tips for Keeping Your Senior’s Spirits High This Holiday Season

As the popular holiday song so gracefully states: It’s the most wonderful time of the year. Kids jingle belling. Marshmallows toasting. Much mistletoe-ing. And plenty of cheer.

But for some seniors, the hap-happiest season of all can be stressful. The holiday season is full of traditions and memories of a deceased spouse or loved one that can trigger emotions and even loneliness. It’s up to caregivers, then, to lift seniors’ spirits and help them remember the good times while also creating new, joyous memories that can be relived in the years to come.

Sonida Senior Living communities across the country are getting in the spirit of Christmas and Hanukkah much the same way families across the world are. We encourage our residents to get involved in the many holiday activities that take place between now and the New Year because spending time with friends, neighbors and loved ones is truly the reason for the season and can be the best medicine for overcoming the stress and confusion that can be brought on by the holidays.

These tips provide caregivers with some recommendations on how to handle the holiday season with a senior loved one.

Decorating

All of our Sonida Senior Living communities are decked out with holiday decorations to get residents in the spirit. One of the best ways to keep seniors smiling this season is to encourage them to decorate their personal living spaces. Find cherished ornaments or special family heirlooms that they can hang on their personal glistening tree. Have grandkids assist in the process so seniors can spend some time with them while making their living spaces extra special and warm.

Baking/Holiday Meals

Our talented chefs are hard at work creating the perfect menu for the seniors in our Independent Living, Assisted Living and Memory Care communities around the country. Seniors who won’t be spending a holiday meal with us can feel a sense of inclusion when caregivers involve them in tasks such as peeling vegetables, folding napkins, setting tables or helping bake cookies that they can then take back and share with their neighbors.

Stroll Down Memory Lane

Letting seniors talk about loved ones from their past and other memories can help lift their spirits and keep them feeling young. Barry Lebowitz, deputy director of UCSD’s Stein Institute for Research on Aging, suggests using photo albums, family videos and music to help stimulate seniors’ memories and encourage them to pass along their experiences to the next generation

Holiday Cards

Help your senior write holiday cards and keep in touch with lifelong friends. Also, if you can, be there when holiday cards arrive in case a card contains bad news about illnesses or deaths.

Medications

Keep your senior on a regular schedule for medications during the frenzy of the holidays. Many of our communities offer medication reminders and administration to assist residents with this at all times of the year.

Outings

Our residents are afforded special holiday activities and extra shopping outings to get them involved while providing an environment that is physically, mentally, spiritually and emotionally stimulating. Lebowitz suggests that seniors who get out in the sunlight – whether it’s cold or not outside – are less likely to suffer from seasonal affective disorder or winter depression.

Sonida Senior Living wishes you and all of your loved ones a happy and safe holiday season.

**This blog post has been updated and edited since its original publishing date. 

Source: seniorliving.about.com  www.agingcare.com

Granddaughter giving her grandmother a holiday present.

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Find a community

If you’re a senior or caregiver looking for independent living, assisted living or memory care services for you or your loved one, contact us to schedule a tour or request information about a community near you.