For most of us, the holiday season is filled with joy. We get to spend time with loved ones, enjoy delicious holiday foods and share meaningful gifts with one another. At the same time, the holiday season can also be the cause of much-added stress and this can be especially true for the elderly and disabled.  Oftentimes, the elderly and disabled can experience increased feelings of loneliness, helplessness, and general sadness during this time of year.  As a caregiver, however, there are many things you can do so that those you care for have a happy, healthy and extra special holiday season.  Here are some ideas:

  • Help with Shopping: Those you care for may want to participate in gift buying but they may not have the ability to do so. Therefore, offer to create a gift-giving list with them. You can then provide the transportation to purchase gifts or you can purchase them yourself. Offer to help with wrapping presents as well.
  • Help Deck the Halls: For many people, the holidays are all about decorating and surrounding yourself with items that hold tradition and memories. As a caregiver, this is a great way to help those you care for.  Whether you are just doing the bending, lifting and moving for them or you are providing items to decorate with, a caregiver can be a huge help to the elderly and disabled when decorating for the holiday season.
  • Make Meals Memorable: Food is often a huge part of the holiday season and this is another way that caregivers can help make the season extra special.  Offer to help prepare a traditional dish/meal with those you care for.  You can also offer to take them out for a special meal which is something they may not be able to do too often.  Food can bring warmth and comfort and this is especially true during the holidays.
  • Help Them Experience the Season: It can be very difficult for those you are caring for to attend a religious event or participate in a holiday performance.  Offer transportation to help them or if this is not feasible, try to bring the experience to them.  Videotape a service or performance and view it with them at home so that they feel as if they were there.
  • Give the Present of your Presence: As a caregiver, the best way to make the holiday season enjoyable for those you are caring for is to offer time and be present. Even though the holidays are demanding on all of us, make sure you allow time to visit and actually sit and talk with your loved ones. Sharing stories, listening, and laughing together can actually be the best holiday gift of all!

As the holidays approach, try to remember the true spirit of the season which is to spend time with your loved ones making memories that will last a lifetime.  Show those you are caring for just how much you care about them.

For more ideas on making the holidays special for those you are caring for, I have included the following links:

https://www.agingcare.com/Articles/celebrating-holidays-with-elders-148187.htm

https://elizz.com/caregiver-resources/caregiving-tips/tips-overcome-holiday-blues

 

 

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