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How to Care for Your Loved Ones During the Holidays

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Even though the holiday season is known as a joyous one, many of us are well-aware that it is not a happy time for everyone. The elderly tend to have an especially hard time during the holidays. Many different factors can make the holidays hard on those who are older. Missing loved ones who are gone is a difficult thing for many to deal with during the holidays. Not being able to fully participate in activities, losing some holiday traditions, not being able to help out with cooking and planning, and being overwhelmed by all of the festivities are all also aspects that can make the holidays difficult for the elderly. As a caregiver or family member, there are many things you can do to make the holidays easier on your loved one.

Understand their grief and anxieties. Take time to be aware of what might be causing them to be sad or anxious during this time. When you can tell that their mood is different, remind yourself of why and act with compassion towards them.

Spend some time talking to them and listening as well. If your loved one is the kind of person who generally likes to talk about things like this, sit down with them and ask them about how they are feeling. Even if you only spend a little bit of time listening to them, it can make them feel better and can help you understand where they are coming from.

Decorate their home for the holidays. If your loved one is festive, decorate the house so that they can enjoy the season. Because they spend most of their time at home, they might feel as if they’re missing out on the spirit of the holidays. Do what you can to bring some of that into their own home.

Try to keep their traditions alive or bring back old ones. Sometimes the elderly feel sad about traditions that are no longer upheld. Try not to let family traditions fade, and if you spend some time talking to them and find that they are missing an old tradition, do what you can to bring it back. This can be a sure way to brighten their season.

Include them in as many holiday activities as you can. Their inability to get out very much can put a damper on their mood, and missing out on holiday activities, especially family ones, can make someone who is homebound sad during the holidays. Together with family, try to find as many ways to include your loved one in the activities, even if it means adjusting the activity so that everyone can attend.

Be sure to involve the whole family. Co-ordinate with other family members to visit and host the elderly family member at their events. Spending plenty of time with family can make the season a happier one for those who are elderly. This might also be a prime time to take advantage of a little extra help if your family members happen to be more inclined to pitch in during the holidays.

Do what you can to connect with far away family and friends. Help your loved one to reach out to family members who live far away. If a distant family member can visit, it might be just the gift your loved one was hoping for during the holiday season.

Don’t overwhelm them. Make time for quietness in the midst of the busy season. Not everyone enjoys all the hustle and bustle of the holidays. If the house constantly has guests coming in and out or if there are multiple events each week, set some time aside for your loved one to get a little bit of peace and quiet.

If they are very depressed, help them get the appropriate care. If you can tell that your loved one has more than just the blues, you might consider getting them to see a therapist or psychiatrist.

If you are not a caregiver, help out as much as you can to relieve some of the workload. Caregivers are always so busy, and the holidays only magnify that. If you are going to be around more during the holidays, help out where you can so that the caregiver can get a break. They will greatly appreciate it during this busy time.

Although the holidays are busy, there are multiple things you can do to make them a pleasant time for everyone, including your loved one.

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