Tag: dementia home care Philadelphia

Tips for the Holidays – a collaborative piece from the National Aging in Place Council

NursePartners is proud to be a co-founder of the National Aging in Place Council of Philadelphia.  Monthly we meet with other vetted service providers to determine how we can best support older adults as they age in place.

National Aging in Place Councils from across the country have collaborated to prioritize five tips we can offer families during the holiday season.  The original post below has been supplemented by additional tips from NursePartners.

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Tips for the Holidays from NAIPC

      As the holiday season approaches, NAIPC members would like to offer seniors, caregivers and family members some health and safety tips for enjoying the holidays with loved ones.NAIPC members compiled a list of the five most common things that normally concern seniors, caregivers and their families.  We recommend that all stakeholders remain vigilant to minimize the risks and effects of the issues below:

  1. Isolation

  2. Safety

  3. Nutrition/Health

  4. Finances

  5. Transportation

      1. Isolation. Many older adults who have raised families, or been a central figure in their community, are now at a place where those roles are no longer part of everyday life. This leaves them searching for where they fit in the bigger picture and this is especially true during the holidays. It’s important for them to feel their participation is valuable and meaningful. Here are some ways you can mitigate isolationism:

  • Social visits include busy and quiet environments.  If your loved one is living with dementia, consider minimizing excessive noise and chaotic environments.  Try driving around your neighborhood to look at the holiday lights.
  • In they are unable to stand in the kitchen, have them sit and decorate cookies. You are involving them in the process, but also preventing the activity from being exhausting or overwhelming.
  • Reduce lengthy travel for older adults during the holidays.  Try suggesting that younger family members reunite in the home of the older adult.  If not, plan a virtual visit.
  • Older adults have rich stories of past holidays; incorporate these into your traditions and watch how they feel honored and valued.
  • Decorate as an intergenerational affair. From the youngest to the oldest, memories will be built when everyone can participate.

      2. Safety is a big concern, whether it be safety from the elements or safety from the unknown.

      For those aging in place, whether living alone or with the assistance of a caregiver, winter weather can be treacherous. It’s important to ensure that walkways and driveways are cleared of snow and ice before venturing out.  Hire someone to shovel pathways and salt sidewalks. Additionally, it is wise to keep a supply of candles, matches, food, extra blankets and medications at the ready.  If the older adult is living with dementia, consider having someone stay with them during snow storms.  Arrange for a groceries to be delivered before the storm, either online or by a relative or friend.
      Only use flame-resistant decorations and keep power cords away from heavily trafficked areas. Do not leave lights unattended and always assist the older adult while they are decorating.

      3. Nutrition/Health. It is always important to manage a sensible diet, but especially over the holiday season with the rich foods and drinks, that could potentially be detrimental to anyone with a risk of diabetes, heart disease or worse. Encourage those at risk to limit consumption, by taking smaller portions and balancing their diet, or avoid holiday treats altogether.

      4. Finances. We all cope with the financial pressures that our society imposes on us as we approach the holiday season.  We need presents, trees, decorations, festive meals, and constant entertainment.  This can certainly deplete the funds for someone living on a budget.

  • Consider going to another relative’s house rather than cooking a meal yourself.  If this is not an option, consider ordering a meal from somewhere like Boston Market.
  • Minimize holiday decorations by purchasing a table top tree.  This would be more manageable and easier to dispose.  Use holiday decorations that you already own.
  • Shop online for the best holiday deals to save on gifts for family members.  Assist an older adult with this process!
      Beware of charitable fraud.  Checking the IRS website for legitimate charities could be a lifesaver.

      5. Transportation. Whether it be local or long-distance travel, transportation becomes a larger issue around the holidays. Either it’s the inaccessibility of running errands or it’s waiting in long lines, navigating airports and security, claiming baggage and meeting up with relatives.  Don’t subject an older adult to these inconveniences.   Instead, celebrate your holidays by traveling to them.

The holidays are supposed to be full of joy, love and family. So, keep your family safe and happy this year.

      HAPPY HOLIDAYS from all of us at NAIPC!