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7 Holiday Tips for Adult Children of Seniors

Joe Tirio - Thursday, December 11, 2014


As the holidays approach, the anticipation of time with family grows for all involved, especially the matriarch of the family. We’ve all been so busy, maybe too busy to visit mom and now she is anxiously awaiting the opportunity to be together with her family again. With this anticipation comes the risk of her trying to do too much and the anxiety that to her, it may not be enough. Intervene early with these tips to make it the best, and safest, low-stress holiday ever!


Before the holiday:
- Shopping: Chances are, mom needs to get some shopping done either for the big meal(s) and/or gifts. Consider taking your mom on a shopping day, or even better, help her shop online

- Wrapping: As we age, tasks that require excellent eyesight and dexterity become harder and harder (and more frustrating) to do well. Gift wrapping could be hard for your mom these days. So, suggest alternate methods of wrapping like gift bags, pre-decorated gift boxes or even surprising the family by putting the gift of one into the box of another!

- Holiday Decorating: Decorating for the holidays is a tradition for so many families. Consider offering this slightly different approach this year to make it easier on the whole family. Make the decorating part of the celebration and a joint family activity. Give different family members different tasks based on their interest and capability. Let Mom participate and and even direct the work of the others. The place will be done up in no time and you all can take pride in the beautiful results of your team’s efforts.

On the day of the holiday:
- Food Preparation: Food is such a cornerstone of just about any holiday, regardless of your religion (or absence of it). It is also a LOT of work and requires a lot of stamina to prepare a meal for the whole extended family. Here’s another place where teamwork can really save the day. Work with you Mom to develop the menu and then work withe the extended family to have each member bring something to contribute. Remember to let mom prepare her ‘signature’ dish, of course. Take a minute to review the menu to be sure that it includes wholesome foods; good quality protein and vegetables. It’s easy to load up on home made ‘junk food’, so be careful to keep the meal balanced with an eye to having fun as well. Also, be sure to consider how you will handle leftovers safely. This is also a great opportunity for Mom to stock up her fridge with some great food tied to some great memories.

- Take a break!: Of course, Mom won’t want to take a break, so instead, lure her into slowing down by asking her to tell you a story about a Christmas past… “Hey Ma, tell me again about that time that Dad got that tree stuck in the front door…”. You can also use items around the house to start a conversation. Pick up an old knick-knack and ask Mom about where it came from or who bought it. These tactics not only help to start a conversation, they’re great mental exercise!

- As the day ends, gather everyone around and take minute to take stock of the day, all that attended, all that you accomplished and all you have to be thankful for, especially your Mom.

After the holidays:
- Make sure that you touch base frequently after the holidays as well. All to often, once they are over, we tend to keep to ourselves. Make a point to stop by and stay in touch.

And if you can’t help as much as you'd like to, call Monarch. We can provide thoughtful, professional Caregivers right to Mom’s house, and we’re more affordable than you may think. The best in home care when you can’t be there!
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