Helping Seniors Experience the Joys of the Season

Bristol – November 18, 2009 – For most people, the holidays represent a wonderful time of year to share the joys of family and friendship. But for some older adults, this time of year can be extremely difficult if their mental, physical and emotional needs are not taken into consideration. For the elderly, the nostalgic season and memories of friends and family members that they have outlived, or the long distances that separate family member can become even more painful during the holidays. In addition, older family members with special needs can get lost in the shuffle and chaos of happy family gatherings.

“For many older adults, the memories of holidays past outshine present day celebrations, and they find it difficult to experience joy in the present,” said Jason Harvey, Owner of Live Free Home Health Care. “However there are some easy ways to bring joy back to the season for older adults and their families.”

This year, bring a little color to a senior to help avoid the holiday blues. Live Free Home Health Care suggests a rainbow of possibilities to spruce up the season for elderly loved ones in the local community.

RED: In some cultures, red denotes purity, joy, and celebration. Red is also the color of happiness and prosperity in China. What better way to celebrate the joy of the season than to offer assistance in decorating an elderly family member’s house for the holidays? Set up a Christmas tree or menorah. Talk about the history behind some of the decorations that have been handed down through the years. Don’t forget to also volunteer to help take down the decorations after the holidays!

Red can also signify avoiding embarrassing moments. Try to avoid making comments that could inadvertently embarrass an older friend or family members who may be experiencing memory problems.

ORANGE: Put some logs on the fire or light some candles and cozy up to reminisce about special times and people. Often, older people whose memories are impaired may have difficulty recalling recent events, but find it easy to share stories and observations from the past. Reminiscing can bring smiles, but remember to balance any discussion on the past with talk about the present and future. Reminders about fun upcoming events, whether it is coffee with friends in an hour, a vacation next week or a daughter’s wedding in a year may result in having positive feelings about the future as well as the past.

YELLOW: Turn on some lights and get out of the house. Shorter days and less sunlight cause people to tire earlier, especially as they get older. In addition, be aware of seasonal affective disorder (SAD), an illness that can be provoked by reductions in sunlight during the short days of winter. Make time for activities that will increase exposure to sunlight. Seniors need new things to anticipate during the holidays, and for those that rarely get out of the house, this may be a very special treat. Stay active and turn some lights on when dusk approaches.

GREEN: Eat healthy and avoid alcohol. Watch out for those heavy or carb-loaded foods that make a person feel tired. Also, alcohol is a depressant and should be drunk at parties and gatherings with moderation or not at all, as it can interfere with medications and increase some symptoms of the holiday blues. When preparing holiday meals, involve everyone, breaking down tasks to include the youngest and the oldest family members. Older adults with physical limitations can still be included in kitchen activities by asking them to do a simple, helpful task, like greasing cooking pans, peeling vegetables, folding napkins or arranging flowers. Also, help older adults stay healthy by adhering to their regular schedule of medications during the frenzy of the holidays.

BLUE: Many seniors feel depressed and sad during the holidays but hide this from friends and family because they don’t want to worry anyone by displaying these feelings. Encourage your loved ones to talk about it. Don’t view sadness as taboo. Many people experience it at some point and often talking about it with others can help. Someone specially trained to help those with depression can also be a valuable asset in determining if more serious intervention is needed.

PURPLE: Make a senior feel like royalty and assign someone to be the day’s companion to the senior, making sure he or she is comfortable. Social connectedness is extremely important at holiday times, and spending quality time with senior family members can make it easier for them to be social. However, be sure to plan ahead. If older family members tire easily or are vulnerable to over-stimulation, limit the number of activities they are involved in or the length of them they are included. Take into consideration time for naps or “quiet time” in a quiet part of the house.

Ensuring that an elderly loved one experiences joy during the holidays can seem challenging at first, but there are many available resources to help. Oftentimes an extra pair of hands, such as Live Free Home Health Care provides, can be helpful for dealing with a frail family member’s everyday tasks of cleaning, cooking, transportation and shopping, so that the concentration can be on spending quality time together during the holidays. For more information about helping seniors in our local community beat the holiday blues, please contact Live Free Home Health Care.

About Live Free Home Health Care, LLC:

Serving the Lakes Region and Central New Hampshire, Live Free Home Health Care, LLC is dedicated to providing top quality care in the comfort of home as an alternative to assisted living facilities or nursing homes. Family owned and operated, Live Free Home Health Care offers a wide range of services, from companion care and assistance with activities of daily living to skilled nursing, and all care is supervised and updated by a registered nurse. Live Free Home Health Care also offers medical alert systems to provide extra peace of mind should an emergency care need arise. Whether the need is for short or long term care, Live Free Home Health Care’s compassionate staff promises to treat each client respectfully and like a cherished family member. For further information, contact (603) 217-0149 or visit www.LiveFreeHomeHealthCare.com.

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