The holiday season can be a lonely and isolating time for seniors as a lot of emphasis is placed on the importance of spending time with family from Thanksgiving through New Year’s. Sadly, some residents in senior care facilities either do not have family to visit them or their family members are too far away to make the journey. Feeling alone during the holidays can be tough for anyone, but it is especially depressing for seniors who may be confined to their homes.
At A.G. Rhodes, we consider the happiness and well-being of our residents a top priority. Therefore, our team of caregivers and volunteers strive to make the holiday season a fun and enjoyable time by devoting extra time and energy to each of the residents in our care. The following tips can help caregivers make the holidays a little more enjoyable for seniors in residential care.
Christmas decorations help everyone get into the holiday spirit and make the surroundings more festive. Residents can also take part in decorating the tree, hanging wreaths and even writing out Christmas cards for staff and fellow residents. Holiday foods are also a great way to lift spirits, and the vast majority of senior care homes provide special meals on Thanksgiving and Christmas Day. Children are also an important part of the holidays, and just the presence of a small child can bring happiness to seniors in residential care. Many schools and children’s theatres hold special performances over the holidays that seniors can attend, or caregivers can inquire about putting on a performance within the care home.
Studies have shown that loneliness can lead to an increased risk of depression as well as physical symptoms such as high blood pressure, an increase in stress hormones and difficulty sleeping. Group activities are wonderful ways to get residents socializing with each other and can help to stave off feelings of loneliness. Sing-alongs, board games or even crafts such as cookie decorating or creating Christmas decorations are great ways to add some Christmas cheer.
As well as group activities, individual time spent talking to and listening to seniors is vital to encourage them to express any emotions they may be feeling. For elderly people, the holidays can often bring a reminder of people who have passed away or relatives who they have lost contact with. Therefore, many senior care homes operate a volunteer program where groups of volunteers attend the home to assist with special events, art and music therapy programs, or simply just to sit down and chat with residents.
The holidays can also be a time of religious celebration and many people observe different religious practices during this time. Residents may enjoy visiting a local place of worship like a church or temple, or carrying out a religious tradition such as lighting Hanukkah candles. Religious officials may also be able to visit residential care homes over the holidays to spend time with patients that are unable to leave the home due to reduced mobility.
At A.G. Rhodes, we put care and effort into making our home a comfortable and pleasant environment for seniors. If you’re interested in becoming a volunteer, contact A.G. Rhodes today. Time is perhaps the most valuable gift that people can give each other this holiday season, and making a special effort to spend a little extra time with senior residents can make all the difference.