Independence is important for all seniors year-round but has particular relevance during the holidays. The holiday season is the perfect opportunity for seniors to feel more connected and included in their families and communities. For those struggling to maintain their independence, accommodations can be made to help them embrace where they are in life.
Many believe that senior independence is based on their ability to live without any assistance, but this is not the case. This false belief deters many families in need from reaching out to care managers and accessing beneficial services for their aging loved ones.
True senior independence is their ability to live freely by having their wants and needs respected and accommodated.
So, any service that makes aged care more personal and self-directed is a step in the right direction. For some seniors, this means having a mobility aid such as a walker or cane. For others, it involves medication or financial management.
The holidays are a time for families to come together, reveling in memories and long-standing traditions that keep everyone connected. Because of this, the holidays are especially meaningful to seniors. Hosting special events and get-togethers will allow seniors to get out of their regular space and into different environments that inspire the fond memories and traditions the holiday season brings.
Being independent for seniors makes the holidays better. It helps them feel closer to their loved ones and more connected to their own identities.
Few people envision themselves as seniors, and even fewer imagine they’ll struggle with their mobility. But it is a common affliction faced by seniors, curbing their independence and leading them to feel out of touch with their own lives. As aging parents slow down, they may feel left out and as though they can no longer keep up. This can cause them to feel as though they are forced to watch as their children grow up and move on with their lives, making new traditions of their own.
To combat senior loneliness and depression, family members can take steps to help their aging relatives feel a greater sense of freedom and control in their lives.
The first step toward promoting greater senior independence during the holidays is recognizing how certain challenges impact celebrations.
For some, a lack of transportation makes it difficult for seniors to participate in festivities. They may have enjoyed browsing holiday goods at the store, but they are unable to commute. Or they want to take in the Christmas lights around town but can no longer walk long distances.
Other seniors may have a limited budget and feel left out when they can’t afford to buy the gifts they had in previous years. They could also struggle with mobility, making it harder for them to decorate their home and perform beloved traditions such as baking and decorating gingerbread houses.
To ensure that your aging loved one gets to celebrate the holidays with their independence intact, here are a few ways that you can help promote independence and inclusivity this holiday season.
- Pick an accessible location. Some seniors can’t travel long distances for holiday celebrations, so they may stand to miss out on important family gatherings. Think about rearranging plans to make travel easier for them. Opt for small group visits throughout the season, or consider hosting the family dinner at your loved one’s home instead.
- Embrace the gift of technology. Spend some time teaching your aging loved one how to use technology so that they can stay connected to their friends and family no matter where they live. Being able to video chat, text message, and share photos and videos on social media can help them feel more empowered and included in the holiday celebrations.
- Choose activities that respect their limitations. Seniors may not be able to go sledding or trekking through the snow. But they can decorate cookies, hang ornaments, and help out with holiday cooking. Seated festivities make it easier for them to participate fully without feeling as though they’re becoming a burden or isolated.
- Have one-on-one celebrations. Your loved one may be unable to make it to a big holiday event or manage the crowds at markets and fairs. One thing you can do is arrange for special one-on-one time, like meeting up for holiday lunches. These meaningful moments create opportunities for seniors to spend time with their relatives, children, grandchildren, and friends without limitations.
- Make arrangements to help them stay independent. You might offer to help your loved one by transporting them to and from their errands or instructing them on how they can do some of their holiday shopping online. Show them that you want to help them overcome whatever obstacles they may be facing. As they find solutions, they’ll feel more independent and capable, helping to make the holidays a positive memory for the years to come.
When it comes to senior independence, you might worry about your loved one’s ability to care for themselves. If that is the case, professional aged care services could benefit those struggling to maintain their full independence.
At Reflections Management and Care, we provide senior care services to seniors in need of a little extra help so that they can remain as independent as possible. Our personalized care management plans offer affordable, flexible home care and assistance to seniors designed to promote independence.
We connect caregivers and clients with services that empower them, some of which are provided by our partner Electronic Caregiver. This partnership enables us to help families gain peace of mind and grant seniors more independence.
To learn more about how we promote senior independence in everything we do and how we can all ensure the holidays are more inclusive to seniors, please reach out to us today!