As we head into Thanksgiving, all of us at Homecare California want to offer our thanks to our readers, our clients, and all the service providers with whom we work in the communities we serve. Your support is always appreciated.
The holiday season also reminds us of the needs of our most vulnerable citizens, including those we serve. Many individuals with disabilities, medical frailty, or dementia sit on the sideline during the holidays. Their isolation may be due to problems with mobility or communication. Whatever the reason, the season of our gratitude is a time to reach out to others and offer them our time and attention.
Having a visit with a frail or elderly family member can be a stressful experience for both the visitor and the older adult. Seniors often rely upon a set routine, and even though they may crave companionship, often feel bombarded with sensory overload. But there are ways to make holidays visits – or visits anytime! – go pleasantly.
For family and friends, one senior organization offers several tips to make holiday visit with older adults less stressful for all. We encourage you to read the entire article, but following is a summary of the major tips:
Make sure that all visitors understand the reality of an older loved one’s situation. For example, if he or she has hearing problems, remind others to look directly at them when speaking. If dementia is an issue, explain to younger visitors about the memory problems or repetitiveness they may see.
Draw seniors into conversation by asking them to share stories from their childhood or family stories. Long-term memory fades slower than short-term, and most people enjoy talking about days gone by!
Show family photos, videos, or slideshows on a laptop or iPad.
Provide some entertainment. Watch an old movie, such as a classic comedy, together. Bring the family dog for petting, or break out checkers or a board game for the entire family.
In other words, come prepared with things to do and talk about, along with some understanding (particularly helpful with children).
As you gather around the Thanksgiving table, old and young, we hope you have a wonderful day for which to be grateful.
Photo courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net