The holidays are a magical time of the year. Many of us are already planning for Thanksgiving, thinking about Christmas shopping, and booking exciting trips and visits for the holiday period. But for our elderly parents, Christmas can be challenging. Many seniors find the period lonely and feel isolated. They might be upset if they’ve lost people and spend time dwelling on how different their holidays are now. While it’s always likely to be challenging, there is plenty that you can do to help your parents to enjoy the festivities.
Help them to Decorate
Whether your loved one still lives alone or they’ve moved into senior living in St. Louis, they might find decorating their home on their own hard. Often, our loved ones will tell us they’ve decided not to bother with decorations, but this can sometimes be because they can’t manage alone and don’t want to put us out, more than because they don’t want to enjoy the magic of a decorated home. Offer to help, but don’t pressure them to do more than they want to.
Find Activities They’d Like to Attend
We can be guilty of thinking that Christmas is just for children and families with young children. But there are plenty of activities that older people could enjoy too. Look for things like carol services, screenings of Christmas films and plays, and anything else that you think they might enjoy. If they’d rather avoid busy attractions, look at out-of-town garden centers and events at local libraries and community centers.
Make Plans for Important Days
The festive period certainly isn’t just about the main days. But being alone on days like Christmas eve and day and New Year’s Eve can be upsetting, even for people who are used to living alone and happy in their own company. Invite your loved one to spend these days with you, and look for other options they might prefer, like spending time with friends.
Invite Them to Join Your Family’s Traditions
Your household may have its own traditions — things like decorating your tree together, going for winter walks, watching certain films, baking mince pies, and visiting extended family. Inviting your elderly parents to join in with these traditions will give them plenty to look forward to and help them to feel included and loved. It might also give them a chance to share some of their old traditions and experiences, which they may feel have been left behind.
Offer Help with Card Writing and Gifting
Your parents might want to send Christmas cards and gifts to their friends, family, and people who help to look after them. But shopping for gifts and even writing cards can be difficult. Offer to help them with any shopping and card writing if they’d like you to but don’t take over and try to let them be as independent as possible.
Christmas can be a magical time at any age. But it can also be upsetting for many older people. Make sure your parents have lots to look forward to and that you include them as much as you can in your own plans.