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Updating Our Holiday Traditions for the Elderly

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As our family members age, it becomes important to adjust our family get-togethers for their changing needs. So whether your family celebrates Hanukkah, Christmas, or another summer celebration, consider the health of your loved ones.

Your traditions, special recipes, and heirloom decorations may have been handed down from some of the very family members who are now the beloved elderly at your celebration.

Christmas Present RAH Logo

A loved one with hearing loss

People with hearing problems can feel isolated in a crowded room. Reduce background noise as much as possible, save the loud music for later. Remind guests to face your loved one and speak slowly and clearly and encourage your loved one to use their hearing aids.

A loved one with vision loss

People with age-related eye problems need good lighting. Dining by candlelight might mean they can’t see what they’re eating. Dim lighting also raises their risk of falling. Keep empty boxes and new toys off the floor.

A loved one with dementia

When an elderly family member is living with Alzheimer’s disease or a related disorder, holiday plans usually need to be modified. If the family member hosting the gathering is the primary caregiver, they may already have their hands full. A simplified celebration could be in order, or maybe it’s time for other family members to take on some of the shopping, decorating and cooking. It’s important to help family members with dementia remain part of the celebration.

  • During the holiday season, try to maintain your loved one’s routine as much as possible keeping to similar bedtimes, mealtimes, medications and exercise.

  • If possible, enable your loved one to help with baking, decorating and wrapping gifts.

  • Your loved one may still have memories of holidays past. Encourage them to share their thoughts. Before the gathering (in person or online), go through a photo album to remind your loved one about people who they will see.

  • Ask guests to wear name tags.

  • Set aside a space in the home where your loved one can rest if they become overstimulated.

  • Avoid decorations that could be hazardous, such as candles, or greenery with berries that might be mistaken for food.

  • Talk to guests before the gathering. Explain any changes in your elderly relative’s mind or body. For children, use simple terms and reassurance.

Special considerations for 2020

The holidays will look different this year due to the pandemic, so the adjustments above might be only the beginning. Parades are called off, and we won’t be seeing crowded sales or Santa photos at department stores and shopping centres. Many places of worship plan to hold remote or socially distanced services.

Families are making tough decisions. Public health experts say indoor gatherings can spread COVID-19. Should out-of-town family chance plane travel? What about university students coming home without time for the recommended quarantine period? How can they protect the most vulnerable family members? Lucky for Australians, summer weather should allow for outdoor gatherings.

And take heart – some experts say there could be a silver lining, as scaled-back celebrations mean less stress. For people facing economic uncertainty, cutting back on holiday spending will be welcome. And families who have lost a loved one during the pandemic may wish to focus on reflecting as a family on their loved one’s life.

Home care for the holidays

Professional in-home care can be a real holiday gift for the elderly who need care, as well as for family caregivers. Professional caregivers can provide hygiene care (bathing, dressing, grooming, help going to the toilet), housekeeping and laundry, meal preparation, healthcare reminders, transportation to medical appointments or gatherings, and memory care for clients with dementia. Professional caregivers can help your older lover ones with online shopping, gift wrapping and decorating, all the while being mindful of social distancing and other sanitary precautions. A professional caregiver can be with your loved one to allow you time for baking, shopping, decorating, or, this year, setting up the big virtual celebration.

Happy Holidays!

Keep up to date with COVID 19 information on the following links:

Australian Government Department of Health

Victorian Health and Human Services

NSW Health

Queensland Health

ACT Health

WA Department of Health

Tasmanian Department of Health

Northern Territory Department of Health

SA Health

Right Care Right at Home - Caring for Loved Ones at Home

Right at Home is a 'My Aged Care' government approved, home care provider for levels 1 – 4 and have a comprehensive portfolio of care services that ensure your loved ones get the care they need. Right at Home provides home care for all adults regardless of the age and also provides care through the NDIS disability scheme. If you or someone you love needs care due to changed conditions because of illness, accident, surgery or due to Coronavirus, we have capacity so give us a call. Our number one priority is the safety of our staff and clients, and we follow strict hygiene and safety protocols. 

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Founded in 1995, Right at Home offers in-home companionship and personal care, and assistance to seniors (elderly and aged care), and any adult who needs our care at home including adults living with a disability who want to continue to live independently or age in their home. Right at Home is your local expert for issues related to caring for your loved ones and is dedicated to keeping you informed about home care. With no admin or subscription fees Right at Home allows you to get more care from your package or budget.

Right at Home is a 'My Aged Care' government approved, home care provider for levels 1 – 4 and offers flexible in-home care services such as nursing care, after hospital care, post-operative care, respite caredementia and Alzheimer's care. Right at Home also offers assistance with daily living and personal care such as grooming, hygiene, transport, shopping, meal prep, domestic services and social support, so your loved one can enjoy a more independent, vibrant life. Our nurses and caregivers are screened, highly trained, and insured prior to entering your home so you can trust us with the caregiving while you focus on your loved one.

To find out more, please give us a call on 1300 363 802 or visit our website.

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