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November 21, 2023

Tips for making the most of holiday visits with senior loved ones

Visiting senior loved ones during the holidays can be a heartwarming and enriching experience for families. It’s a time filled with nostalgia, gratitude, and the joy of reconnection. However, it may require a bit of planning and sensitivity to ensure that the visit is comfortable and enjoyable for everyone involved. Here are some tips to help make your holiday visits to elderly relatives truly special.

Plan Ahead

  • Discuss Plans: Communicate with your senior loved ones before the visit. Discuss their expectations and how they would like to spend time with the family. Knowing their preferences and limitations can help you plan activities that everyone can enjoy.
  • Accommodate Needs: Make sure that the living space is comfortable for your senior relatives. This might mean adjusting the thermostat, removing tripping hazards, or arranging for any necessary medical equipment.
  • Meal Preparations: Plan meals that take into account dietary restrictions and preferences. Cooking together can be a wonderful activity, but also be prepared with easy-to-make or pre-made options to keep things stress-free.

Create a Comfortable Environment

  • Minimize Disruptions: Seniors may be sensitive to changes in their routine. Try to keep to their regular schedule as much as possible, including mealtimes and rest periods.
  • Safety First: If you have small children, make sure they understand how to interact with their elderly relatives safely, such as not leaving toys around which could be tripping hazards.
  • Quiet Spaces: Holidays can be overwhelming with all the noise and activity. Set up a quiet room where seniors or anyone else can retreat if things get too hectic.

Engage in Meaningful Activities

  • Reminisce Together: The holidays are a perfect time to share stories. Encourage seniors to talk about past holidays and listen to their life experiences.
  • Inclusive Activities: Choose activities that can be modified to include people of all ages and abilities, such as board games, watching classic movies, or decorating cookies.
  • Encourage Independence: Allow your senior loved ones to participate in the preparation and celebration of holiday traditions as much as they are willing and able.

Be Mindful of Health

  • Monitor Health: Keep a watchful eye on your loved ones’ health. The excitement and change in routine can sometimes lead to exhaustion or health issues.
  • Medication Management: Ensure that medication schedules are adhered to. Set reminders if necessary, especially with the hustle and bustle of holiday activities.
  • Rest Periods: Plan for adequate rest periods between activities to prevent fatigue.

Capture the Moments

  • Take Photos and Videos: Document these precious moments with photos and videos, but also be present and engaged rather than focusing solely on capturing the perfect shot.
  • Create Keepsakes: Work on a holiday craft or keepsake that your senior loved ones can keep after the visit. It’s a wonderful way to leave them with a tangible memory of your time together.

Say Goodbye Thoughtfully

  • Plan Your Departure: Goodbyes can be emotional, so prepare for them. Leave on a positive note, perhaps by talking about the next visit or what you enjoyed most about your time together.
  • Follow Up: After the visit, follow up with phone calls or video chats. It’s important to continue the connection and let them know they are not forgotten, especially after the festive period.

The holidays with senior family members can be a delicate balance between celebration and consideration. By planning with care and compassion, families can create a holiday experience that honors the spirit of the season and respects the needs of their older loved ones.

If your visit results in discovery of additional support needed for your loved ones, feel free to contact us for a tour. We can arrange a time convenient for you throughout the holiday season at any of our senior living campuses.