Senior decorating Christmas tree with granddaughter

8 tips for supporting aging loved ones during the holidays

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Although, it may not feel like it for everyone. The truth is, the holidays can create an extra source of stress and exhaustion for many people, especially seniors. As the holiday season approaches, support your aging loved one with these 8 tips.

1. Help them decorate.

Seeing holiday decorations brings joy to many people. However, getting tubs out of storage, using ladders and lifting objects overhead can be difficult for seniors. Help your aging loved one get in the holiday spirit by assisting them with decorating their home. Listen as they tell you stories about their favorite decorations and memories of holidays past.

2. Take them to a drive-thru lights show.

See if there are any drive-thru Christmas light shows in your area. Many of these light shows feature millions of dazzling lights synchronized to holiday music that you listen to through your radio. This can be a fabulous experience for anyone, but especially a senior who can’t participate in on-foot holiday light displays.

3. Pass on the hosting torch.

Does your aging loved one traditionally host your family’s holiday gathering? From planning to cooking to cleaning, hosting for the holidays can be physically and mentally taxing, so it might be time for the younger generation to take on hosting responsibilities. When considering where to hold the celebration, ensure the gathering location is safe and accessible for seniors who are attending.

4. Consider their dietary needs.

The holidays often mean rich foods and drinks that are high in sodium, sugar and fat. If you have an aging loved one with dietary restrictions attending your holiday gathering, ensure there are healthy-but-delicious food and beverage options for them to enjoy as well.

Learn 3 ways to maintain proper nutrition in retirement.

5. Minimize the pressure of gifts.

Shopping for a long list of Christmas gifts is not only financially difficult for a senior on a fixed income, but it can be physically exhausting as well. Minimize the pressure of gifts by having a gift exchange where everyone only needs to bring one present.

6. Help them stay active.

In many areas, the holidays mean cold temperatures and possibly snow and ice. One way to support your aging loved one during the holidays is to help them maintain an exercise routine, despite the weather. Go with them on walks outside if conditions make it possible. Otherwise, consider mall walking or taking them to a gym that participates in Silver Sneakers or another senior fitness program.

Check out these 8 activities for adults when the weather turns cold!

7. But also…leave time for relaxation.

Staying active is important, but so is relaxing! Shopping, cooking, decorating and attending holiday gatherings can be exhausting, so help ensure your aging loved one is resting enough. Sit down with them and watch a favorite holiday movie, or sit on the porch with a cup of hot tea and watch the birds at the feeder. Or, you could carve out some dedicated time for an afternoon nap.

8. Give their caregiver some time off.

Does your aging loved one have a caregiver who helps them? Whether their caregiver is a paid professional or an unpaid family member, consider giving them some much-needed me-time to check holiday tasks off their list and enjoy quality time with their family.

Consider these 5 simple ways to care for a caregiver.

Happy holidays from Bankers Life!

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