Posted by: The Elder Law Practice Area
While the holidays are a time of gatherings with family and friends, they can also be a source of stress, as exercise schedules might be disrupted for shopping excursions and rich holiday meals make it difficult to adhere to a particular diet. To help seniors stay healthy during the holidays, reduce their stress and avoid the holiday blues, keep the following tips in mind:
- Make healthy choices. From rich meals to tempting and tasty homemade snacks, the holidays are a time for many to indulge in food — or overindulge. Try to plan meals with other events in mind.
For example, if a big dinner is planned for New Year’s Eve, consider serving a lighter lunch of salad or soup.
- Stay hydrated. Drinking water is one way you can stay healthy during the holidays. To make it easier to stay hydrated, have water easily accessible at home and keep bottled water in a purse or bag when running errands.
- Follow dietary restrictions. Some seniors must follow special diets, such as one that is low in sodium. It can be difficult to adhere to a diet during busy, stressful times, especially if there aren’t any healthy options available. To make it easier to follow dietary guidelines, keep healthy options like fresh-cut vegetables and fruit on hand.
- Keep exercising. In many parts of the country, the holidays are synonymous with cold weather and snow. To stick to an exercise schedule, bundle up and invite your parents for a walk around the block if the sidewalks are dry. If it’s snowing or icy outside, drive to an indoor shopping mall and walk a few laps while window-shopping.
- Shake up traditions. Between cleaning the house and cooking for a crowd, hosting a big holiday meal can be a source of stress. If an older relative traditionally hosts a big holiday meal, consider passing the tradition on to the younger generation of family members. If the relative insists on hosting, younger family members can volunteer to clean or prepare part of the meal.
- Decrease gifts. For many seniors, especially those on a fixed income, the holidays can be a financial challenge due to purchasing gifts for many family members. To reduce stress from paying for gifts, consider having a family grab bag, where everyone contributes one gift.
- Rest after traveling. For some seniors, the holidays are a time to travel long distances to visit family and friends. Whether they travel by car, rail or plane, keep in mind that an older relative might want to rest upon arrival. Offer the options of watching television or taking a nap instead of planning a day of shopping and visiting.
- Make homes accessible. If older relatives are visiting your home for the holidays, ensure your home is safe and accessible. Consider having your relative sleep on the first floor of your home. If that’s not possible, let them stay in a room close to the bathroom. In addition, use nightlights in the hallway so they don’t stumble in the dark.
- Take breaks. Between parties and shopping, the holidays often involve busy days and late nights. If you are planning an all-day outing, carve some time for a nap or a way to relax for a bit, even if it is just to sip tea in a cafe. Little kids, seniors and everyone in between will appreciate it.
- Stay involved. Recognize that seniors still want to feel that they are part of the holidays. For many, that may include helping out with holiday preparations.
With a few preventative measures and a willingness to change some traditions, seniors can stay healthy and follow their diets, while also having fun with their family members this holiday season. Remember, the holidays are a time for giving and thoughtfulness. Keep your loved ones in mind and help them have a wonderful holiday with you.
Our firm is dedicated to helping seniors and their loved ones work through issues and implement sound legal planning to address them. If we can help in any way, please don’t hesitate to contact our office at (630) 221-1755.