The holidays can be a stressful time for anyone. With travel, family and social engagements, house guests, shopping and a million other to-dos, the holidays can be overwhelming for many. But for seniors, the holidays can bring additional stress from multiple travel plans, an uprooted routine and even seasonal depression. Try these five helpful tips to help keep holiday stress to a minimum for your senior loved one.
Set realistic goals
We know visiting family and friends is always on the to-do list during the holiday season, but traveling and meeting with people all day can be physically and mentally exhausting. Make sure to schedule ample rest time throughout and allow for plenty of transportation time in between visits so that there’s no rushing around to see last-minute guests.
Keep set schedules
If your senior parent or friend is used to waking up at a certain time, eating at a certain time and going to bed at a certain time, make sure to respect those schedules. Staying up later to accommodate family visits or having to eat later in the evening because of a difference in meal times can be difficult and stressful for a senior to acclimate to, so make sure you know beforehand what their schedule is like.
Keep expenses to a minimum
Many seniors are on fixed incomes, so keeping costs low can help ease any financial stress associated with the holidays. Travel, gifts and food can all start to take their toll on the checkbook, so make sure to create a realistic budget and stick to it.
Plan appropriate activities
A six-hour shopping trip may not be the best idea for a senior who has difficulty walking or standing for long periods of time. If these types of activities are unavoidable, make sure that a walker or wheelchair is available to make activities easier and more comfortable.
Keep friends or family around
Along with the fun and happy aspects of holidays comes sadness for many seniors – especially those who’ve lost loved ones. Be sure to not isolate yourself or your elderly companion. There are always churches and other civic organizations that offer holiday parties and gatherings, or volunteering at a local organization to stay social during the holidays.