The holiday season is officially upon us! It has been a challenging year for many of us and as such, there seems to be a particular longing for a joyous holiday season. It is exciting to look forward to holiday foods and gift-giving, but the holidays can also be a source of stress and illness, for you as a caregiver, and for your loved ones. While we prepare for upcoming celebrations, which are set to look much different this year, it is more critical than ever that caregivers are vigilant in staying healthy and keeping our elderly community safe.
Consider the following strategies to protect yourself and your loved ones while enjoying the holidays this year:
Wash your hands often
The most wonderful time of the year also coincides with flu season, and if we have learned anything in 2020, it is that the importance of regular hand washing cannot be overstated. Our elderly community is more susceptible to catching illnesses and having more severe symptoms. Washing your hands often, in addition to avoiding touching your face as well as other high touch items in public areas is the easiest and most efficient way to protect ourselves.
Prioritize mental health
Our mental health is just as important as our physical health, and if not managed properly, the unique challenges of the holidays can take its toll. A 2015 study found that 64 percent of people are affected with the “holiday blues” due to various reasons including loneliness, seeing the happiness of others during the holidays, as well as financial stress. Statistics Canada tells us that many Canadians aged 65 and older are living alone, and while social distancing continues, loneliness is becoming more prevalent among elderly populations. As you gear up for your holiday schedule and activities, plan some downtime for yourself, but also ensure you are reaching out to your elderly loved ones who may be alone for most of the holidays. A quick phone or FaceTime call can brighten yours, and your loved one’s day.
As well intentioned as our holiday visitors may be by bringing delicious treats to our doors, the constant sweets and hearty meals can pose challenges to maintaining healthy nutritional habits. Having healthy snacks on-hand and ready, such as a veggie or fruit tray, will make it easier to stay on track and resist some of the tempting snacks that line our tables at the holidays.
Plenty of Fluids
Stay hydrated – we all know that plenty of water is good for us anytime of the year. Fill your favourite reusable water bottle, drop in some lime, cucumber or berries and keep handy for quick access.
Make time for exercise
The winter weather during the holiday season may not be the most enticing for outdoor physical activity, but prioritizing exercise at any time of the year is integral for maintaining our health. Instead of sitting while watching holiday movies, you and your loved ones can march on the spot or do some light range of motion exercises during commercial breaks. How do you stay active during the holidays? Let us know!
Enjoy your elderly loved ones
Your elderly loved ones may not be able to host for the holidays, or prepare an entire dinner, but ensuring they are still included in the festivities will promote overall happiness and health. Encourage them to prepare their favourite dish, or to help with the decorating. If it is safer for your loved one to stay isolated from gatherings, you can still include them by cooking dinner over Skype or Facetime. They could also read a holiday story to children or adults through video.
Be easy on yourself and others
The most important part of the holidays is enjoying them with those you love. The holidays can be both exciting as well as stressful, and prioritizing our health is important through the commotion. Don’t forget, it is also important to have fun. Manage expectations and celebrate, while keeping safety in mind, and everyone will enjoy a happy holiday season.
Do you have any suggestions for staying healthy through the holidays? Let us know by leaving a message! We cannot wait to hear from you.
From all of us at Rose Hill Lane, we wish you and your loved ones a joyous, safe holiday season!