For many people, the holiday season is a time of happiness, togetherness and merriment. From October through the new year, there are family get-togethers, special meals, traditions, gifts and celebrations. However, holidays for seniors can be a very different experience. Many seniors find it difficult to remain happy and positive during this busy time of year. The pressure and strong feelings brought on by the holidays can impact seniors living at home, living with family or living in a senior community.
To help senior loved ones combat the holiday loneliness, lack of activity and depression that might occur during the holidays, it is important to stay proactive, involved and educated.
Holidays for Seniors
While for many, the holidays are merry and bright, in some cases, holidays for seniors can feel isolating and stressful. Even before the added anxiety and challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, holidays for seniors can be complicated. So, why are senior holidays complicated and what brings on these unhappy feelings? Here are a few common causes of unhappy holidays for seniors:
- Senior loneliness and depression. A lack of social interaction, missing family members or spending a lot of time alone, remembering what once was can make for lonely holidays and unhappy seniors.
- Limited mobility. For seniors who can no longer move around as they once did, the forced change in their holiday activity schedule can be upsetting.
- Financial stress. The holidays can be expensive. For seniors on a limited budget, this can create stress and feelings of unhappiness if they have to pick and choose where to spend their money.
- Life changes. Activities for the holidays change over the years. Family members pass away, people move, children grow up and traditions may need to change. For seniors with wonderful memories of the past, these changes can be emotional.
For those with senior loved ones who have concerns about holiday loneliness or unhappiness, it is helpful to know the warning signs if a senior is struggling. The signs include:
- Decline in personal hygiene
- Trouble sleeping
- Talking about or committing self-harm
- Weight changes
- Difficulty concentrating
- Feelings of helplessness or worthlessness
How to Provide Senior Support During the Holidays
So, if a senior is experiencing holiday loneliness, how can friends and family members provide senior support? Here are some ideas to try and create the happiest possible holidays for seniors:
Remember, but keep it positive.
Memories of the past can bring up feelings of holiday loneliness and missing those who are no longer with us. Reflect on the things that have changed, but appreciate the things that have not and focus on the positives of today.
Take control of finances.
Set expectations for spending during the holiday season. This helps reduce surprises, allows everyone to stay on a budget and allows seniors to spend their money on activities for the holidays that they truly enjoy.
The holiday season is full of traditions. Keeping up as many as make sense is a great way to stay connected to family and to the past. At The Atriums Senior Living Community, the Atriums Taxi can help seniors and their loved ones get safely to all their favorite holiday shows, meals and parties! The Atriums and many other senior communities also offer lots of fun activities and services during the holidays to create new traditions.
Practice active listening.
A large part of senior support during the holidays is offering support and validation. Talk about feelings, talk about changes and be there for one another. If there is a lot of concern, talk to your loved one’s doctor or the director of their senior community about resources and additional support.
Decorate for the season.
Adding festive touches at home can help lift spirits and bring on the joy of the holidays. At Tiffany Springs Senior Living Community, the variety of apartment floor plans and living spaces gives seniors and their families lots of options for decking the halls!
About Tutera Senior Living & Health Care
Tutera Senior Living & Health Care is committed to supporting the health, happiness and life goals of our residents. We encourage our residents to chase their dreams, find new challenges and look for new adventures. Our culture is centered around:
- Encouraging continued personal growth
- Empowering and directing your daily living
- Enabling your healthy-as-possible outcomes
Our resident-centered focus is demonstrated through our YOUNITE philosophy. When a resident moves in, the Tutera team collects information about their likes, dislikes, goals and preferences. This information is then used to create a unique care plan that will address the resident’s needs and set them up for the experience they want. Every Tutera community offers services, amenities, team members and culture that work together to honor each resident’s individuality and independence.