Managing the Holidays With Aging Parents
Last Updated: November 26, 2018
Over the holidays, we’re likely to see our aging parents and relatives and learn more about their daily habits. If they are beginning to get lonely or are having trouble living independently, the holidays can quickly become a difficult and stressful time. However, if we approach this time with a positive and proactive attitude, we can make our visit joyful for all.
Learn more about A Place for Mom’s “CHEER Plan,” which our Senior Living Advisors use to help families manage the holidays with aging parents.
How to Use the CHEER Plan to Manage the Holidays With Aging Parents
A Place for Mom’s CHEER Plan stands for:
It is a plan that our Senior Living Advisors use to help you make the most of your time with aging parents and senior loved ones as you visit over the holidays.
The CHEER acronym helps you:
1. CHECK on your parent’s well-being.
Check on your parent’s well-being, especially if you haven’t visited in a while. When we see someone every day, we may not notice health changes because they happen gradually. On the other hand, when we visit seniors whom we haven’t seen in a while, it may be obvious that they need help. If you’re visiting your parents in their home, check their pantry and refrigerator to make sure they’re eating fresh, healthy food. Survey the overall safety of their home, assuring that carbon monoxide and smoke alarms have batteries and that the rooms don’t have fall hazards. Even if you don’t visit your senior loved one’s home, you can watch for health issues involving chewing and swallowing, gait and mobility, mental clarity and vision. In a Huffington Post article, A Place for Mom’s CEO, Sean Kell, outlines more advice about how to take stock of a loved one’s health and well-being over the holidays.
2. HELP your senior loved one stay engaged.
Seniors who live alone can suffer from depression due to limited mobility in the winter months. Be inclusive and invite older family members and friends to your celebration, offering transportation if they need it. Older loved ones may need emotional support during this time. Make sure they are comfortable and not overburdened with preparations. If a senior loved one seems lonely, take time to listen. Are they missing family members who have passed away or the way things used to be during holidays of the past?
3. EMPOWER your parent to live independently.
While helping is important, it’s also important that our older loved ones have the knowledge, support and tools needed to live independently when our visit is over. If you are concerned about your parent’s safety, teach them skills that help to compensate for deficits. Also, make sure there is a local support system for your senior loved one and set them up with resources to help them stay safe at home, such as meal delivery services, medical alarms and mobility services.
4. ENJOY your time together.
After you have ensured that your older loved ones are happy and safe, focus on making the most of the holidays and your time together. Encourage group activities to get your family moving; dance to some favorite tunes or take an evening stroll through the neighborhood to see the lights.
5. REMINISCE with parents and senior loved ones.
Many of our fondest memories from childhood and youth are episodes from holidays past. Allow older loved ones to get nostalgic and reminisce over the holidays and about the holidays. Even seniors with advanced memory loss retain long-term memories and may be able to speak vividly about a Christmas more than 50 years ago. Get out family photo albums and videos that bring the past to life for parents and senior loved ones.
If you believe your parent’s or senior loved one’s health or safety may be at risk, then it may be time to get professional guidance. A Place for Mom’s senior living referral service is free, and you can reach us at (866) 333-2174 or APlaceforMom.com.
You can also receive professional insight from our senior living experts who can help you start the “tough conversation” with your aging parents about their decisions for their care and end-of-life wishes.
We’re sending warm wishes to you and yours for an incredible holiday season and a prosperous New Year!
We Can Help! Our local advisors can help your family make a confident decision about senior living.