How to Care for Your Elderly Parents During the Holidays
by Gary Sattin on Oct 14, 2022
With the holidays fast approaching, we must give the proper attention to every person in our family. Depending on one’s stage in life, they may have different capabilities than those around them. Oftentimes, our elderly parents are among those that require extra care and attention. This holiday season, thank your parents for all the years they cared for you by caring for them. Below is a guide on how you can care for your elderly parents during the holidays.
1. Prepare the Space They’ll Be Staying InIf your parents are going to you, create a comfortable area for them to stay in. Some things you may want to provide for them may include:
- If they suffer from incontinence, outfit the bed they’ll sleep in with waterproof sheeting fabric.
- If your parents have mobility issues, make sure you create clear paths for them to navigate throughout the house.
- Additionally, if they’re in a wheelchair or use a walker, put any items they may need in an easy-to-reach spot. This may include food, remotes, or a first aid kit.
- Put extra toiletries in the bathroom, such as clean towels, a robe, and a few additional rolls of toilet paper.
2. Offer Transportation
This is especially important if either of you lives in an area with adverse weather conditions. Offer to drive to their house to pick them up and take them wherever they need to go during their stay. If your parents have to take a flight, arrange a chauffeur to drive them to the airport and pick them up when they land. Additionally, arrange for them to have a comfortable aisle seat on the plane.
3. Keep Their Schedule in Mind
As people grow older, they may develop a schedule that differs from the one you and other family members are familiar with. You should keep this in mind as you plan any holiday activities. Don’t plan meals or trips to places such as the theatre for too late in the evening. You should block off additional time in your schedule for bathroom breaks, time to take medication or general rest.
4. Do Accessible Activities
Similar to making accommodations in your schedule, keep your parents in mind as you choose what activities your family will partake in during the holiday season. Your parents may feel left out if your family does things without them or goes somewhere that force them to stay home. It’s important that you involve them in what you’re doing. If you choose an activity that they’d like to opt-out of, make sure they’re properly taken care of while you’re busy.
5. Ask For Their Input
Just because one is older doesn’t mean that they’re incapable of having their own ideas or making their own decisions. Involve your parents in the decision-making process when planning activities and offer them the opportunity to make suggestions. Don’t just expect them to go along with an agenda that is in no way their own. Seek out their opinion regarding activities, meals, and scheduling.
6. Share Memories
Hearing your parents relay a personal story is an activity that will never lose its magic. Allow parents to take control of the floor and share their memories of Christmases past and the traditions they had when they were young. Lend them your ear and share your own stories as well. It may be fun to compare your memories from when you were young to the ones they have at the same time. Years from now, the recollections of these conversations will be some of the fondest memories you have with your loved ones.
7. Involve Other Families
If you have siblings, cousins, or any other family members that are close to your parents, involve them in your plans. Keep them updated on your preparations and let them lend a hand in making your parents feel welcome. You can work together to delegate travel plans, meal schedules, and anything else that needs tending to. This will give you less to concentrate on providing others the opportunity to care for their loved ones. You should also never be afraid to ask for additional help should you need it.
8. Go to Them
If your parents are in a circumstance in which it’s hard for them to travel, bring the holidays to them. Plan for your family members to travel to your parents and book nearby hotel rooms if needed. Just because your parents are unable to travel and visit with anyone, they shouldn’t have to spend the holidays alone. Additionally, their home will already have everything they need to keep them comfortable in their day to day life.
If Your Parent Has Alzheimer’s:
If your parents are dealing with dementia, how you care for them will take even more specialized care than it would otherwise. The following are additional steps you may have to take:
- If they’re in a place that’s unfamiliar to them, be sure to have objects around that will keep them comfortable. Take items from their home to have on hand and make them feel safe and secure in their surroundings.
- If you have young children, make them aware of the fact that their grandparents will act differently than they may expect and prepare them accordingly. Let them know about any potential scenarios that may occur.
- Don’t have any decorations that may prove to be overwhelming, such as flashing lights or overly large objects.
- Play older Christmas music that they may be familiar with.
- Have a quiet place that they can retire to should the need arise. Make sure this is far enough away from any area in which several people may gather.
- Manage your overall expectations. Naturally, you love your parents and are eager to spend the holidays with them. Prepare for the fact that there are going to be accommodations you’ll have to make and ask for help when you need it.
Happy Holidays from TotalDry
We here at TotalDry wish you, your parents, and the rest of your family a happy holiday season! If you need to stock up on your adult incontinence products, contact us today.