It's the holiday season. A time of merry hearts and family get-togethers. But for elderly seniors, aging in place in their homes, it might be a quieter time spent primarily at home. Thus it's also a good time for some tips to help all of us caring for our elderly parents – either in their own homes or in ours.
- Keep a close eye on the ornaments and other Christmas decorations to ensure they are in safe spots and not blocking walkways or on the ground – just waiting for a wobbly foot or cane to set down and cause a slip and fall.
- If young grandkids or great-grandkids will be coming to visit, be sure to have some games, puzzles, and/or easy crafts available. Busy hands usually lead to quieter calmer visits that elderly seniors can more easily enjoy.
- Skype, Facetime, and phones make for pleasant conversations with loved ones who don't live near your elderly parents' home. Be aware, though, that they might not do well with a long conversation – especially with younger children. A child's higher pitched voice can sometimes be a bit high-pitched, young kids often talk faster than their great-grandparents can keep up with, and they often wear out easily. So stay close by to monitor how the conversation is going and be able to help them by taking the phone and continuing the conversation while they rest and re-relish what they just enjoyed.
- Include them in various get-togethers and outings – when they want. But also give them the freedom and flexibility to stay home if they are too tired or not feeling up to it. If they can't be left at home alone, see if a friend or neighbor could stay with them for a couple of hours while you go out. The break will do you good and if your parents are like mine, they'll be thrilled to see you have a nice time and they will also be glad to NOT feel guilty at keeping you at home. 🙂
- If one of your sweet seniors is having extreme health issues, you might consider setting up a visiting area in their bedroom where guests can visit, one at a time, for a few minutes. We did this when my senior dad was on hospice. We had several family members stop by and we all enjoyed a visit in the living room, while escorting them – one at a time – back to visit dad and mom for short times, interspersed with rest breaks. My dad really enjoyed that day, and they were thrilled for one last special time with him before he went to be with the Lord.
- If they aren't able to get to church during the holiday season (or through the year), play a church service for them on the computer or iPad – their own church or one of many excellent ones that offer online videos.
- YouTube is grand for finding lovely Christmas music – new and old – for them to enjoy – right in their own bedroom.
The holiday may not be the same for your senior parents, but they can still be quite enjoyable in their very own home. How about you? Do you have more suggestions? We'd love to hear them.