Caregiving During the Holidays: 3 Tips for Keeping Loved Ones Close
The holidays often bring up a variety of emotions, both positive and negative. For many people, the period between Thanksgiving and the new year can unearth feelings of sadness, loneliness and grief. For seniors, especially, the holidays can evoke feelings of regret, painful memories of lost loved ones and longing for days past.
During this emotional time of year, it’s vital to keep in touch with loved ones. If you live at a distance from your senior parent or relative, staying engaged can pose challenges that may require some creativity. Here are three ways to keep communications open with your loved one during the holidays.
Tip 1: Pick up the phone
In our digital age, picking up the phone and talking isn’t always the first mode of communication that comes to mind. But for seniors, chatting on the phone remains the next best thing to being there in person.
Even with the best of intentions, you may find that life gets in the way of finding the time to talk with your loved one. To avoid letting this important activity slip through the cracks of your busy week, consider scheduling one or more times each week to talk. Block off the time in your calendar, and be sure to keep the appointment. Knowing that a call from you is coming soon may be just the thing to keep your loved one’s holiday spirits high.
Tip 2: Use snail mail
While most Generation X’ers and Millennials rarely use stamps these days, most older adults still enjoy receiving mail the old-fashioned way. A handwritten card or letter from you may just make their day.
You can get the whole family in on the action. Why not match up your parents and your children as pen pals? Buy the kids some neat stationery complete with inked stamps and stickers, and encourage them to express themselves regularly with the written word.
Tip 3: Get digital with video
Just about everyone has some digital acumen nowadays, and seniors are no exception. Although older seniors, especially, may lag behind other age groups, most are open to learning something new. Consider setting up a computer equipped with Skype at their place, and show them how to use it. Set up scheduled sessions for them to chat with you and the grandkids.
You can also appoint the kids as technical emissaries; on their visits, they can teach Grandma or Grandpa how to use a tablet to keep in touch with the whole family.
Stay close to loved ones, even from far away
In the holiday rush, it’s easy to forget to contact senior loved ones regularly. By establishing a schedule for calling, mailing and using technology to communicate, you can ensure that your family member never feels alone and can fully enjoy the magic of the holiday season.
For more tips on caring for aging parents, subscribe to our blog or download our free ebook: "Preparing Your Aging Loved One for Winter: A Winter Survival Guide for Seniors."
About Presbyterian Senior Living
Presbyterian Senior Living is a not-for-profit organization, fulfilling its charitable purpose and mission by providing high quality retirement choices, healthcare services and affordable residential living options for people 55 and older for more than 85 years. Headquartered in Dillsburg, Pennsylvania, Presbyterian Senior Living provides services to approximately 6,000 seniors in 30 locations in the mid-Atlantic region of Pennsylvania, Maryland, Ohio and Delaware.