Christmas, Do's And Don'ts

Devoted's dos and don’ts of caring for older people this Christmas

Posted 6th November 2021

According to the Independent, around 200,000 elderly UK Citizens will spend Christmas alone this year. As a carer, you have an opportunity to make a difference. The gift of companionship is invaluable for older members of your friends and family. However over the Christmas period, there are a few ‘do’s and don’ts’ to bear in mind when caring for your older loved ones. 

DO prepare for hazardous weather
Keep in mind the mobility of the individual that you’re caring for. Consider whether they would manage travelling in potentially dangerous weather conditions, or how they would cope with icy pavements and cold outdoor spaces. When planning a trip have, on hand, the contacts for taxi services or voluntary agencies (like dial-a-ride) as well as emergency contacts. Additionally, stocking up on their medications early, would avoid additional stress when out of the house.

DON'T put up decorations all at once 
The change in surroundings and routines can be particularly unsettling for elderly dementia patients who are often triggered by sudden changes. It is imperative that your loved ones are comfortable in their surroundings. This means they need to be able to recognise their home at all times so, if you’re planning to dress their home for Christmas, keep it minimal and familiar. Additionally, dedicate quiet time to speak to your elderly friends and relatives. Take a break from the fast pace of activities around them and check in on their emotional state. 

DO plan ahead
Displays of festive lights and loud noises, while a joyous tradition for us, can bring discomfort and stress to the elderly or vulnerable. For seniors that live by themselves, it’s difficult to adjust to the ‘hustle and bustle’ of congested towns and cities which can easily trigger their anxiety. Alternatively, Christmas could be just ‘another day’ to them; attempts to communicate are key. Find out what they’re comfortable with and what they’d like to do and plan ahead accordingly; creating an enjoyable time for everyone. 

DON'T force them to engage in the festivities if they do not want to
Depression and loneliness in the elderly are common at this time of year. Be considerate of their mental health. For many, Christmas reminds them of partners and friends that have passed away. It’s important to respect their feelings. To tackle these emotions focus on family get-togethers and group orientated meet-ups. Lean towards small concerts and shows. Also important to factor in, is that many UK residents suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). To address this condition, try to organise walks in the sunlight or introduce some vitamin D supplements. 

DO have a collection of fun indoor activities prepared.
In the case that you cannot take your elderly loved ones out to Christmas displays, concerts or plays, have a list of indoor activities they can engage in. These can include puzzles, knitting clubs, bird watching or even online shopping. Bring the sights to them through decorating, baking and board games. Personalise their experience by playing their favourite childhood songs or preparing their favourite meals. Show them that you care by enjoying this time with them and making it special. 

If families need any additional help or support over the Christmas period then Devoted is here to offer short term respite and care. All our carers are vetted to the highest standards to ensure that you can enjoy the festive celebrations knowing that your elderly loved ones are safe and looked away - even when you’re away. 

To find out more about what we do, feel free to contact us.

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