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Comfort and Joy This Holiday Season

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With the holidays quickly approaching, your “to do” list is probably growing at a rapid pace.

Trying to keep up with all the responsibilities of work and home and adding the care of an elderly loved one to the list can be overwhelming.

Managing seniors in good mental and physical health during the holidays can be a time of joy. But for those struggling with pain or debilitating cognitive function, the holiday season can be depressing, stressful and lonely. But there are ways to keep the season be a happy time for all.

If attitude is a problem, keeping active and involved is a great way to combat the blues for any generation, during these last few months of the year. If possible, contributing to a local charity or organization can be a terrific morale booster, leaving less time to think about one’s own worries or troubles. However, if getting out and about is too difficult, continuing family traditions that are familiar such as displaying decorations that are special to the family or singing holiday carols are a few ways to be sure to get a smile from anyone, no matter their age!

If there are parties and holiday festivities you know would be of interest to your senior, arranging for their transportation and helping them to get ready will be appreciated.  Remembering traveling and meeting with people can be physically and mental exhausting so make sure to schedule ample rest time throughout the activities and allow plenty of time for everything so as to avoid rushing.

With many seniors who depend on regular schedules that include a set time for meals, naps, visits and going to bed and since the holidays can sometimes cause their day to become out of sync, if possible, try to keep a regular schedule as much as possible. This effort will help  to keep everyone happy, healthy and not confused.

Since many holiday festivities often feature alcohol beverages, you’ll want to make sure senior alcohol consumption is kept at a safe amount. Alcohol for many older adults can lower spirits and can contribute to a host of health problems.

During this time of year, it’s especially important to watch for sadness that doesn’t seem to lift and be on the lookout for signs of depression which can include:

  • Loss of interest in activity that once brought pleasure
  • Change in appetite or weight
  • Sleeping more than usual
  • Feelings of restlessness
  • Thoughts or talk of death or suicide

By taking advantage of these few tips, everyone, no matter what their age or generation, can enjoy “The “Most Wonderful Time of the Year!”

By Susan Belknap, Freelance Writer