How To Help Older Parents Navigate The Holiday Season

This holiday season is likely to bring with it a lot of activity for your family. Parties, decorating, family dinners, excursions . . . these are all things that your older relatives will probably look forward to but may need help with. To help your older parents navigate the holiday season, follow the tips below.

1. Balance tradition with practicality.

Just because your family has always done things a certain way doesn't mean that you have to follow all of those traditions this year.

For example, cooking an elaborate holiday meal from scratch may have always been a treasured tradition, but spending three days to cook one meal might not be very practical anymore. If your kids are busy with activities, if you're busy working, and if your older parents don't have the energy to dice every vegetable, knead pie dough, and roast a bird, it's okay.

To accommodate these changing habits, many grocery stores and restaurants offer full holiday menus so that you can still enjoy delicious food at your gathering. This eliminates pressure on your mom or dad who may feel like they still have to provide for everyone at the table.

A recent nationwide survey found that most Americans participate in fewer holiday related activities than they did as children. While exchanging gifts and spending time with friends and family is still important, far fewer people put up decorations, send cards, and make homemade gifts. It's important for your older parents to understand that the culture is changing and that traditions can change (and become less labor-intensive) over time.

2. Look into physical support devices.

If your family does plan on attending social gatherings, help your older parents be prepared for the tough physical challenge of getting around, standing for long periods of time, and participating in activities.

If they sometimes use the assistance of walkers or wheelchairs, the holiday season is a perfect time to continue that use. When lights are dim, sidewalks are icy or wet, and people are out late at night (in addition to possibly being a little tipsy), older people are much more likely to trip and fall than they are during a regular day.

Additionally, if they've had any knee problems, encourage them to wear a brace, which helps strengthen the knee joint. Since 63% of women over 50 reported knee pain in a recent study, it is likely that your mother will have some sort of pain. You want her to feel comfortable and be able to bounce back quickly from a family gathering, and a brace can help stabilize her and prevent any further injuries. An added benefit of a brace, in comparison to another supportive device, is that it can be hidden under clothing, preventing nosy friends and relatives from asking about it. For more information, contact Parkwood Street Road Pharmacy or a similar location.

The holiday season is a great time to reconnect with family and friends, but you need to make sure that your older parents are comfortable, safe, and not overly stressed during this time.