As we approach the holiday season, navigating the challenges of caring for an aging adult can be magnified under the lens of family get-togethers and keeping decade-long traditions alive. There is a palpable pull between honoring the traditions of past holidays and living with present-day realities and challenges. Celebrating with your loved ones doesn’t have to be over-complicated and stressful; the desire to be included spans all generations… people just want to be invited to be a part! Tweaking your holiday plans to include all generations of your family and friends can be a blessing to not only those you include, but you as well! Perhaps this holiday season is the time to start a new tradition in your family. A tradition that is sustainable for those in your life who are in the sunset years, and a tradition that can spark a new found joy and family bond.

Formerly the National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers, the Aging Life Care Association has compiled a list of simple considerations and ideas when including aging adults in your holiday festivities. The original source article can be found here. Here’s a highlight of some of their ideas and advice:

  1. Plan Visits Early in the Day: ‘Sundown Syndrome’ is a condition that many aging adults, especially those with Dementia or Alzheimer’s suffer from; moods and general disposition can change as the sun goes down (dimming light is thought to be the trigger).
  2. Photo Albums: Look at family albums together! The stories and memories that the pictures will trigger are treasures that should be shared.
  3. Play Board Games: Play familiar board games to both exercise the mind as well as engage all generations. Be aware that newer and more complicated board games might frustrate older adults; keep it simple!
  4. Bring a pet: When appropriate, a loving animal that has a calm disposition is a perfect addition to your holiday celebration. 
  5. Listen to music: Intentionally listen to a familiar or favorite holiday CD. Try not to talk or hold conversation while listening as too many levels of noise can be distracting and irritating. It may not seem festive ‘enough’ to just sit and listen to music, but the companionship during the experience is what is important.
  6. Create something: Considering the physical and mental limitations of your loved one, plan a holiday craft, or decorate cookies, or hang ornaments on a small Christmas tree purchased at a craft store. Using different textures such as felt or fleece that your loved one can feel after you leave is a special memento of your time together.
  7. Serve special treats: Spend a little extra and find some sparkling juice or cider and other traditional holiday treats. Perhaps you can find some ‘historic’ treats that your loved one used to make or have during their younger years.

   If you are planning to have someone who has mobility issues at your house, consider stopping by Burlington Health Care in Burlington, KY. Stocking a wide variety of home health aids, you are sure to find a product that will be helpful to you or your loved one during their stay. If you visit a loved one this season at their residence and notice they are lacking the tools they need to be independent and successful, Burlington Health Care is here to help. With an extensive rental program for wheelchairs, lift chairs, walkers, and other devices, www.bhc-ky.com is your one stop shop to help your holidays be a meaningful time with your family.