Christmas can be a magical time of year for some people. It can also be an unwelcome reminder of loneliness. It can be hard for people who may not have family live nearby or don’t have a wide social circle, so everyone should consider the wellbeing of older people who live close by. Spending time with elderly family/neighbours during the festive season is a wonderful way to bring some cheer to someone who will appreciate it.
In amongst all the excitement of Christmas, it’s important to stay connected with relatives who are finding it difficult to stay engaged. Ensure your loved one knows they are still respected and an important member of the family.
During the festive season, a number of factors create challenges for caring for your loved ones.
Mobility- Ice and wet leaves increase the risk of a fall in Winter. Older people might be more susceptible to feeling the cold, so make sure they are prepared for the winter weather and maybe spend less time outside to reduce the risk of falling
Illness- Studies have suggested that we’re more susceptible to illness during the coldest months. Flu can have a greater effect on older people. Make sure your loved one is up to date with all their vaccinations and try to ensure they are eating a balanced diet that provides the nutritional support they need. Keep the house warm, encourage them to wear layers and to keep windows closed to keep draughts out.
Anxiety- If your loved one lives on their own, it can be difficult to adjust to a room full of people. Dedicate some quieter time to sit and speak to your loved one. All the noise and movement, combined with an altered routine has the potential to make your loved one feel anxious.
If you can help your loved one overcome these difficulties and give them a Christmas to remember by taking small steps to make sure they get the support they need.