The holidays are upon us, and as the saying goes, “Tis the season to be jolly.” Unfortunately for many seniors, that sentiment isn’t always true. While the holidays bring joy to many older adults, they can also be a time of loneliness and depression for others. Luckily as home care providers, who have frequent contact with seniors, you have the unique opportunity to make the season a little more merry and bright for your clients. These six ideas for you and your caregivers are simple ways to fill your clients’ holiday with a little more cheer:
Holiday decorations can help a home feel warm and festive. They can also help seniors to recall happy memories from years past and provide them with an opportunity to share those experiences. Decorating is a very social and active event, and it can become a fun occasion for seniors to chat and move around their home transforming it into a bright new space.
2. Visits and Calls
Contact with family and friends can transform a lonely holiday into a joyful one. Work with family members to coordinate a visit, or prepare the house to welcome those who are planning on coming. If family and friends live too far away for a visit, it’s a great idea to set up a call or Skype visit with one or more of them.
3. Social Events
While your agency may not frequently hold events or activities for clients, you may want to make an exception for the holidays, by holding a small social with cocoa or cookies for your clients. It can act both as a thank you and as an opportunity for clients to meet with other local seniors in similar situations. If you don’t want to plan an event yourself, you may consider researching local events for seniors and encourage your caregivers to take their clients out to attend and enjoy themselves.
4. Cooking a Holiday Dish
Food and the holidays go hand in hand, and the method and activity involved in cooking can help seniors to interact more with their caregivers and to get up and moving. Ask clients about their favorite holiday dishes or treats and help them to make and share it. It may be as simple as a cup of tea or cocoa, but regardless of the simplicity, cooking is a great way to connect more with clients and help them to enjoy the holiday.
5. Small Gifts and Holiday Cards
Whether it’s a small treat, a flower, or a simple holiday card, a gift can serve as a physical token of your appreciation. Sending a gift or a sincere note not only shows your clients that you value them, but it can also boost the spirits of seniors who may not receive many other gifts this year.
6. Maintain Traditions
To the degree that your caregivers are comfortable with it, help your clients to maintain their holiday traditions. That may mean playing holiday music around the house, setting up a tree, or attending a place of worship. Perhaps the caregiver could help the client to write and send Christmas cards or to wrap gifts for family members. Assisting with these activities is a great way to help seniors to hold on to bond with their caregivers and to keep their special traditions alive.
As you care for seniors this holiday season, spread some holiday cheer by taking the time to do the small things that help them to feel cared for and appreciated.