This time of year can mean many opportunities for great joy, happiness, inspiration and treasured times with loved ones, or it can be a time of great stress, noise, crummy weather, slick roads, or in some cases, both the positive and the negative. Accredited Home Care knows that the next few weeks can sometimes be challenging, even more so if a loved one has a health condition that may require home health care.
We also have a lot of other reasons that we’re looking forward to the activities of the season – our staff certainly likes being able to spend time with their families, but we also are happy to help our clients enjoy the holidays, especially if their health or their living conditions have changed over the last year.
Sometimes this can take the form of hearing a client’s plans for different holidays or learning different holiday traditions.
Some clients love sharing their memories of past holidays, which we’re always happy to listen to since everyone has unique perspectives and experiences they’re often happy to share.
Maybe someone has certain family recipes they’ve been making for the holiday dinners. Maybe someone follows certain rituals for what to do on these days, everything from what movies to watch to what activities to do as a family. Board games? Shopping? Talent shows?
While certain families may like following specific traditions, down to the types of food prepared and what special dinnerware and glassware were brought out, other families may prefer doing something more random each year, everything from ordering pizza to helping serve a meal at a church or shelter.
In some cases, a client may not have done much special or memorable for the holidays in the last few years but may enjoy reminiscing about events from their past, everything from food to activities.
Hearing some of these tales from the past can be illuminating, especially if newer family members or caregivers haven’t heard the stories or perspectives before.
It can also be an opportunity for family members to not only spend time with loved ones, but assess if they might benefit from home health care services.
Look for ways to cope
As the holidays approach, try these strategies to help ensure things stay peaceful and memorable, or even keep up the spirits.
- Find the good. Even if health circumstances have changed and someone is unhappy being at home by themselves, encourage them to look for reasons to be cheerful. It doesn’t have to be anything major or spiritual, but can be as simple as watching the snow fall.
- Decorate. You don’t need to pull out boxes and boxes of holiday decorations, Thanksgiving crafts or other holiday apparel. People with limited space or limited physical activity might find this difficult or overwhelming. Instead, you can find basic ways to spruce up someone’s place and let people see and know that there’s something different for the next few weeks. Maybe a few holiday cards, or a fun turkey centerpiece for Thanksgiving/harvest.
- Find ways to connect. In the past, people would check in with each other once a year with a holiday card, which sometimes included lengthy letters sharing accomplishments along with photos showing how the sender’s family has grown/changed. Today, this act itself has changed for many people. We may already know what someone is doing through social media, and we also see up-to-date photos of their family. This can be an opportunity to learn different social networks to see what they’re like and what friends/family are up to. It can even re-establish contact with someone from the past.
- Start moving. What does this tip have to do with finding ways to enjoy the holidays? Plenty! The National Institutes of Health says that physical activity benefits everyone, regardless of age or health condition. So you or a loved one may not need to go out and have a major workout if it’s cold and dangerous outside, but you can find ways to work on your flexibility and keep your heart rate up around the home.
- Celebrate. Besides Thanksgiving or religious holidays like Christmas or Hanukah, there are other occasions to gather, such as National Family Caregivers Month in November, and National Family Health History Day, which can coincide with Thanksgiving.
What home health care can offer
Trying to decide if someone would benefit from home health care can definitely be subjective, but getting together for the holidays can be a good opportunity to observe someone’s physical health, mental health and general mobility.
This time of year can certainly be stressful, but if someone handles things different than past years might be a clue that professional help may be needed. Perhaps they may forget steps in a recipe or can’t remember names or details like they used to. Or they may have some mobility problems.
If the subject comes up, or you bring it up, you can mention some of the available services, such as massage therapy, light housekeeping, meal planning or nursing care. It also allows clients to stay in their own home as opposed to relocating to a new facility.
Accredited Home Care is always available to answer questions about services provided, and offer suggestions for ways to enjoy the holidays.