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Senior Health During The Holidays

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The holiday season is a busy season, full of joy, laughter, and lots to do! As the holiday season approaches, so does the colder weather.


Many viral illnesses, such as the flu and COVID-19, often peak during the winter.


People spend more time indoors during the holiday season, leading to the rapid spread of viruses. As we approach the holidays, consider these things you can do to keep your senior loved ones stay happy and healthy this holiday season. Preventing illnesses means more time for fun-filled family gatherings.


Dietary Needs


The Greek founder of western medicine, known as Hippocrates, once said “food is medicine”. As such, this common phrase indicates that our nutrition plays a crucial role in keeping us healthy. During the holiday season, there are endless treats to indulge in. From Christmas cookies to candy canes, the holiday season certainly has no shortage of sugary treats to choose from.


For elders, maintaining a well-rounded diet is essential. While it’s certainly okay to indulge in a few holiday treats, it is also important to maintain a diet full of nutrient-rich food. Your loved one’s doctor may have them on a strict diet, based on their health conditions.

For elderly persons with strict diets, you or your home care worker may be able to try alternative recipes to allow them to indulge in their favorite foods.


Creating a meal plan for your loved one can help ensure they are getting enough protein and fruits and vegetables. Also, meal plans can help to prevent holiday weight gain associated with overeating during this season.


Hydration and Drinking Alcohol


Everyone needs enough hydration. Without hydration, every organ in our bodies cannot thrive and we may feel weak. Those who take medications usually need even more water intake to help their bodies process the drugs without getting dehydrated.


If your loved one is on medications, it is important to be mindful of their alcohol intake. While enjoying a drink or two may be fine, always check the medication labels to be sure of its interaction with alcohol. You may need to discuss this with your loved one’s doctor.


Reducing Holiday Stress


Stress contributes to physical health problems. While the holiday season should be joyful, it often produces stress for many people. Everyone has different limitations, and it’s important for seniors to not strain themselves physically, mentally, or financially.


To avoid overstressing a senior, more labor-intensive traditions should be passed on to other relatives, without completely stripping older relatives of involvement. Schedule rest during days filled with travel and celebration and take breaks when shopping.


Making Your Space Safe


Our homes can become cluttered during the holiday season. With holiday décor and gifts to wrap, it’s important to keep senior homes free of fall hazards.


Preventing falls and other potential medical emergencies is easy with a few precautions. To make your home accessible, remove large items from walkways and ensure proper lighting. Further, be sure to clear the pathway to the restroom to limit falls.


Preventing Loneliness and Reducing Senior Isolation


When seniors live alone, it’s not uncommon for them to experience loneliness. This especially applies to those whose relatives are distant or out of touch. During the holiday season, feeling lonely is especially difficult. During this busy season, be sure to make time to spend time with the seniors in your social circle.


Your loved one’s home care worker can help keep your loved one company during your busy holiday season. They can help assist in fun holiday activities, such as making gingerbread houses and wrapping gifts. If your loved one has a favorite tradition, they can help make it happen! All these efforts can help prevent loneliness and depression during the holiday season.


Remember your Seniors


This holiday season, take extra time to remember your seniors who need you. Remember, the joy of the holiday season comes from enjoying time with our family and friends.


If you feel burdened and overwhelmed, hiring a home health worker from Simply Compassion can help. Home care workers can reduce holiday stress by providing companionship for their loved ones, helping to manage their diet, or giving respite to family members with caregiving responsibilities.

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