Decking the halls may sound like a lot of fun, but for many older adults, just anticipating the holidays can stir up painful memories and harmful feelings of loneliness. One way to prevent the onset of holiday stress is to consider a move to senior living before the season even begins, so your older loved ones can find new ways to celebrate and new friends with whom to make new memories.
Unwrapping the causes of holiday stress
Every year it seems the season begins earlier, with music, movies, and decorations telling everyone it’s time to be of good cheer. But as a person ages, the holiday season goes through an adjustment as well. And while the idea of having an “old-fashioned” celebration at home is appealing, in reality, it’s rarely possible.
For an older adult, holiday stress can occur due to:
- Grief over loss of spouse. Especially if your Mom or Dad lost their spouse during the last year, the holidays can be difficult. Memories of special times spent together come to mind. Pain can feel fresh again; being at home alone isn’t a good solution. And while you and your siblings might try to help your parent through this period, even the best intentions can fall short.
- Missing friends who have moved away. Being around good friends makes everything better, and the holidays often remind older adults of special times with lifelong friends. But as the years go by, those friends often move away, leaving a senior with few or no peers to spend time with.
- Nostalgia for the past; feeling lost. An older adult might feel left out as the holidays roll around. Maybe Dad can no longer carve the turkey safely or put together toys because of shaky hands and poor eyesight. Or Mom can’t bake cookies anymore or wrap presents like she once did. Familiar traditions now seem out of reach, which takes away a sense of purpose and involvement, both of which are so important for healthy aging.
- Not eating well; missing a holiday meal with others. The upcoming holidays might remind your Mom of how she used to prepare jam, pies, or special casseroles. But now her reality is often dining alone on food that doesn’t inspire an appetite. A senior living alone at home often cannot get to the market regularly so dietary needs aren’t met. And for those who live a long distance from their grown children, eating alone can really feel lonely.
Those are just a few of the reasons why making a change in lifestyle—and greatly reducing holiday stress—could be the best present your Mom or Dad ever receives.
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Move to senior living now—and leave holiday stress behind
How can a move to senior living put some joy back in the holidays? Your older loved one will benefit from:
- Peers who understand their emotions. Living around others who also have suffered loss of a spouse or friend can be a huge comfort for an older person. There’s no need to explain their feelings; they are understood. Your parent can benefit from hearing how someone else their age dealt with their loss and their first holiday.
- Good friends are plentiful. No more lonely evenings at home watching a holiday special on television. In senior living, your Mom or Dad will be surrounded by friendly, interesting people who make great company for a walk, a conversation, a meal, or any of the community holiday events.
- The holidays are fun again. Parties, volunteering, decorating, baking special treats, listening to carolers and choirs, and so much more: senior living replaces holiday stress with holiday fun and enjoyment. Your loved one can be as involved as they choose. And the best part: the details are taken care of—they just get to enjoy!
- The gift of good food. Special menus are part of the experience in senior living at the holidays. Residents savor the opportunity to enjoy cuisine that creatively combines nutrition, flavor, and flair. Families and friends are invited to join in as well.
Don’t let holiday stress steal the joy from your older loved ones this season—consider senior living now. At St. Mark Village, residents can celebrate our carefree, wellness-oriented lifestyle every day of the year. It’s everything you need for mind, body, and spirit, as well as the reassurance of seamless access to future care options.
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