There’s nothing better than gathering the whole family together to celebrate the warmth of the holiday season, and this is just as true for older adults. Yet when a chronic illness leads to compromised health for a senior, it can be challenging to fully enjoy the festivities.
For instance, attending to the needs of diabetes care management is especially challenging during the holiday season of high sugar/salt/fat delicacies that are readily available, while those struggling with the effects of cancer treatment such as chemotherapy may have difficulty enjoying holiday meals at all.
Whatever chronic condition your loved one is facing, Harmony Home Health & Hospice’s expert home health aides in Salt Lake City and surrounding areas offers the following suggestions to ensure that everyone in your family can enjoy the holidays to the fullest:
- Scale back for less stress. While we all enjoy holiday hoopla, the real gift to be treasured is time together. Agree as a family to cut back on elaborate gift-giving, which can lead to feelings of guilt on the part of the senior with a chronic illness who likely finds it more difficult to get out and shop for the perfect gifts for each family member. Try a white elephant gift exchange, in which each person brings one gift, with all gifts placed in a central location. Numbers are chosen, designating the order in which each person gets to choose a gift. Each family member, in turn, will have the opportunity to pick a new gift from the pile, or “steal” one that’s already been selected.
- Cut corners. When planning meals, realize that it’s perfectly fine to forego an elaborate spread, and take a few shortcuts to reduce the stress and mess. It’s unlikely that anyone will notice – or care – that you’ve baked a pie using ready-made crust; or even purchased the pie at a local bakery. Shifting the focus of your get-together away from a fancy meal and more on spending quality time together can make for a much more comfortable and relaxed visit for older adults.
- Limit the visit. Especially for those with a chronic illness, fatigue can quickly set in. Agree with loved ones in advance to limit visiting to an hour or two, allowing the senior sufficient time to enjoy with family, while avoiding complications that might arise from overextending herself. It may also be helpful to the senior to have family visit in smaller groups, rather than one large gathering, broken out over a period of several days.
In addition to providing tips for managing chronic conditions during the holidays and all throughout the year, Harmony Home Health & Hospice provides a full range of skilled nursing care, home health aides, therapy, hospice, and specialty services in the comfort of home. Contact us at 1-877-I-NEED-CARE (1-877-463-3322) to learn more about our Salt Lake City home care services.