Kingsley Adult Day Care Happy Holiday Tips for Seniors and their Caregivers

The holidays are a wonderful time of the year, but they can also be incredibly stressful, especially if you are one of the millions of Americans acting as a caregiver for an elderly or sick family member. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that twenty percent of the American population provide regular care or assistance to a family member or friend with a disability or health problem. 

There’s plenty of planning, shopping, cooking, and decorating to be done on top of making sure your loved one is taken care of. You may find yourself wondering if you’ll be able to relax and enjoy the season’s festivities, too. Here are some quick tips that’ll help in planning a happy holiday for the entire family:

1) Keep it Simple.

Just because everyone else is jumping on the “DIY” bandwagon doesn’t mean you have to make every decoration or meal from scratch. Simple store-bought decorations and low-salt, low-sugar meals that your loved one can enjoy will light up the holiday season. (Fewer things are worse for someone on a restricted diet than showing up to an event and finding out there’s nothing you can eat!)

  • Eat close to usual times to keep seniors’ blood sugar levels steady.

  • Avoid or limit alcohol. Alcohol can lower blood sugar and interact with diabetes medicines.

2) Talk to the kids.

The holidays are a time for inter-generational fun and activities like those we host with Kingsley House's Early Learning students, but younger children likely won’t understand grandpa’s gait instability and hearing loss or great-grandma’s wandering and poor vision. Let kids know beforehand if they’ll be seeing any conditions they’re not familiar with that may cause confusion or require special care, such as fall risks, difficulty eating, or durable medical devices like oxygen tanks or feeding tubes. At the Kingsley Adult Day Care Program, we know from experience that letting children know what to expect beforehand will save a lot of time and anxiety.

3) Make a Schedule.

Your senior or medically-fragile loved one may be unable to tolerate an entire day or evening of festivities. Make a schedule ahead of time, and let others know when you’ll need to take breaks that require their help and a hard “go time” of when you’ll need to leave and avoid those “Southern Goodbyes” that can easily take another hour!

4) Ask for help.

Being a caregiver is an enormous responsibility, and you deserve to enjoy the holidays, too. If you find yourself becoming overwhelmed, irritable, or depressed, it’s time to ask for help. Consider a day program like Kingsley Adult Day Care Program for respite to give yourself a break.  Your loved one will receive all the medical, nutritional, and social attention they need (and then some!) while you shop or decorate or just have some fun!

With a little extra planning, you and your senior or medically-fragile loved one can have a healthy and happy holiday season. If you find yourself struggling with managing the stress of care giving during the holidays, Kingsley Adult Day Care is here to help. Contact us for more information on our program and resources for caregivers.

— Jessica Boykin D’Ooge, DHA, LMSW