Seniors and the Holidays

Seniors and the Holidays: Tips to Help Seniors Enjoy the Holidays

The holidays are a wonderful time to celebrate the season with friends and family and. Holiday parties, presents, hot cocoa and  carolers all add to the holiday spirit. However, with travel, family gatherings, house guests, shopping and holiday errands, the holidays can be overwhelming for many. Seniors are no different. The holidays can bring added stress and confusion from multiple travel plans, an uprooted routine and even seasonal depression.

Please follow the tips below to help your elderly family and friends enjoy the magic of this time of year:

  1. Be realistic and set a schedule: Visiting with family and friends is always at the top of the list during the holiday season. However, traveling and meeting with people all day can be physically and mentally exhausting. Make sure to schedule ample rest time throughout and allow for plenty of transportation time in between visits so that there’s no rushing around to see last-minute guests.
  2. Take a stroll down memory lane: Holidays provoke memories. Use picture albums, family videos and music to help stimulate memories and encourage older seniors to share their stories and experiences. Seniors whose memories are impaired may have difficulty remembering recent events, but they are often able to share stories and observations from the past.
  3. Keep expenses to a minimum: Many seniors are on a fixed income and financial stress can be added during the holiday season when gifts, travel expenses and meals are associated with it. Be sure to make a realistic budget and stick to it.
  4. Be inclusive: Involve everyone in holiday meal preparation, breaking down tasks to include the youngest and oldest family members. Older adults with physical limitations can still be included in kitchen activities by asking them to do simple, helpful tasks like peelings vegetables or folding napkins. Including them in the process gives them a sense of belonging and importance.
  5. Monitor medications and alcohol: Be sure to help seniors adhere to their regular schedule of medications during the frenzy of the holidays. Also, pay attention to their alcohol consumption during holiday parties and family gatherings, as they can interfere with medications.
  6. Create new memories: In addition to recalling memories from holidays past, it is imperative to make new memories as well. By adding new traditions, it gives the senior something to look forward to and cherish for years to come.
  7. Beat the Blues: “Holiday blues” are feelings of sadness that can be provoked by all the activities of the holiday season. Whether it is missing a deceased loved one, feeling lonely or depressed, seasonal blues can have a particular impact in the lives of older people. In some people, the ‘holiday blues’ represent the exacerbation of an ongoing depressive illness and should not be ignored.
  8. Keep family around: More than anything, seniors are looking for companionship and love. Take this time to cherish each other and the memories you are making


Older family members with special needs can get lost in the shuffle and chaos of happy family gatherings. Be sure, with all the hustle and bustle of the season to be sensitive and loving to the seniors in your life. And plan ahead!

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