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The Holidays Are Coming...Are You Ready?

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Even though fall has just begun the whirlwind of the holiday season is about to commence. The next few months can be joyous occasions to get together with family and friends. But for seniors, sometimes the holidays are not always a time to celebrate. 

Before the festivities and stress of the holiday season is in full swing this year, it’s a good time to ask a few questions of aging loved ones in an effort to see what type of holiday celebration they prefer.

One of the most important things to check is their health. With the weather becoming colder we all tend to stay indoors more often thus increasing everyone’s risk of catching the flu, a cold or worse. Now is the perfect time to get a flu shot. Have you had yours? 

These immunizations are easy to obtain at your private doctor’s office, or favorite drug or grocery store. The Center for Disease Control reports the flu general kills 24,000 people every year and this season it’s starting especially early.  For seniors, getting a flu shot is vitally important and this year a new kind of pneumonia shot along with that flu immunization is recommended by many physicians. 

If all checks out physically, ask your loved ones about their expectations for the season. They may ask to visit a relative or friend they haven’t seen in awhile or they may desire to exclude holiday fanfare and celebrate in a quiet fashion. 

Respecting your senior’s wishes is important even if it’s not what you or other family members prefer.

If time, health and budget do not allow for a celebration with family members in attendance together during the holiday season, the glory of technology allows for webcams, FaceTime and Skype to give everyone time the opportunity to be together even if it’s in a virtual manner! 

If your family is able to coordinate an in-person holiday get together, then you’ll want to make sure everyone who is planning to visit is aware of your loved one’s mental and physical condition so no one is alarmed, especially if they haven’t been together in a while.  In addition, it is wise to be prepared that celebrations may have to be shorter than what you are used to in past seasons to allow older family members to rest when needed. 

Everyone deserves a joyous holiday. By paying attention to the wants and needs of everyone, the season can be pleasant for all.

By Susan Belknap, Freelance Writer