It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Right? Almost everyone can admit to feeling some level of holiday stress due to all the expectations. But for seniors, holiday stress can be a very real concern because they often feel left out, unable to do all they used to or are all alone. While friends and family may feel the holidays are not a good time to move a loved one to senior living, it may in fact be the most wonderful time of all!
Getting older can limit a senior’s ability to participate in life like they used to, and holidays are no exception. No longer hosting family events, feeling like they are in the way, and lacking the ability to contribute as much as they used to can all make holiday stress for seniors build up and become difficult to overcome. In other cases, the loss of a spouse or partner can make a senior feel depressed, lonely and lost even with the most caring family around them. For those who don’t have family close by, these feelings can be magnified causing a senior to close themselves off at home alone.
That’s where senior living can be a great move because the sense of community and belonging can help seniors who are feeling low or grieving know they aren’t alone. Living with people of their age who have experienced similar challenges can be an uplifting experience especially during the holidays when there is so much to do and enjoy. Find out red flags for holiday stress in the jssa.org article, “Signs of Stress in Older Adults and How to Manage It.”
When a senior loved one has suffered the death of a loved one, families may feel it’s better to minimize the loss and instead immerse them in holiday activities. In reality, however, the best way to manage this type of holiday stress is to acknowledge a loss and take steps to remember that person during the holidays. For example, continue a tradition the deceased person started, like going caroling or baking their favorite cookies.
In senior living, loss is not taken lightly and team members are understanding and empathetic about the emotional upheaval it can bring. They are not only there to listen and share memories but to encourage getting professional help when needed. Seniors experiencing loss and holiday stress can also make new friends who will help them through the rough spots and in time support them in joining in the festivities. To better understand how loss can impact the holidays, the psycholgytoday.com article, “Holidays After the Death of a Loved One,” offers excellent insights.
Since many seniors don’t want to be a burden, before the holidays arrive, take time to speak with them about what you have planned and don’t just invite them, tell them you need their help to make it a success. For example, banish holiday stress by letting them know you aren’t even going to attempt that giant Thanksgiving turkey without their guidance or that you would really appreciate their expertise when decorating the house and Christmas tree.
Keep in mind that providing a sense of purpose is very important and can mean the difference between an engaged and happy senior or one who is withdrawn and lonely, even amid the hustle and bustle. In senior living, finding a purpose is at the core of each day and residents have many ways to experience new things and find a purpose that gives them a reason to get up every morning. Learn more about the value of having purpose for seniors in the sixtyandme.com article, “Why Having a Sense of Purpose is So Important in Retirement.”
For seniors who live at home, moving to senior living before the holidays opens a whole world of community joy they can share in. They can decorate their own homes, but also take part in a variety of special events and activities designed to minimize holiday stress and bring people together to enjoy the season. It’s also a good time because as winter sets in, moving becomes more costly and difficult.
During the holidays, residents will have a variety of entertaining activities on tap like baking classes, sing-alongs, and even events with families and friends. Also important is the availability of transportation for Christmas shopping and enjoying special holiday events in town. It’s easy to make holiday stress a thing of the past for seniors in a vibrant community like Thrive Senior Living, where the options are many and all are fun and fulfilling.