While the holidays are undoubtedly a time of love and fun for many in America, it can’t be denied that the holiday season also brings stress. Travel, changes to daily routines, large amounts of food, and last-minute shopping endeavors all make it much harder to stick to diets or other health-related goals. Seniors can be hit particularly hard by these disruptions. These tips will help keep your elderly family members healthy and thriving – while enjoying stress-free holidays with those they love.
Food and Drink Considerations
Despite how much we all look forward to colossal holiday feasts with family, anyone attempting a diet or who has diet limitations will tell you that the classic holiday lineup of dishes often lacks healthy options. Elders are more likely than younger Americans to follow dietary restrictions, such as only consuming low-carb and low-sodium meals. Older Americans are also recommended to drink less alcohol, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. Alcohol has greater effects on the elderly and can interact poorly with medications that seniors are more likely to rely on.
In order to accommodate everyone over your stress-free holidays, here are a few ways to change up your food and drink options.
To start, provide ample amounts of water, whether as an option at dinner or a water bottle to drink during daily activities. Providing seniors with many opportunities to drink water can lower the chance of dehydration and help their bodies healthily process the intake of food and alcohol. When prepping meals, take the time to include dishes or variations of dishes that align with the dietary needs of all who attend the dinner. No one wants to feel left out during the holidays, and the added stress of the season can cause people attempting to stick to a diet to join in and overindulge in the often unhealthy and calorie-dense food typically served for holiday dinners.
The holidays are more than just meals. For many, preparations for holiday celebrations take up magnitudes more time than they spend enjoying the time with family. As the patriarch or matriarch of the extended family, it is common for seniors to be the ones who open their houses and provide a place for the whole family to gather. This holiday season, consider the true cost, on both stress levels and health, that this takes on the elderly loved one in your life.
Younger members of the family can volunteer to take on the responsibilities of hosting and cooking for the holidays. Still, many grandparents might, understandably, feel hesitant to completely abandon the role that they have played for an extended period of time. If this is the case, younger family members should provide any assistance, whether that be bringing food and side dishes or helping clean and decorate the house before the event. Overall, the most important part is to keep the seniors in your family involved in the process. Even if they take a backseat role, completely shutting them off from all cooking, cleaning, and hosting responsibilities can leave them feeling unloved or unwanted.
Always keep an eye on your elderly family members to make sure they can cope with the stress and busy days of the holiday season. Allowing periods of rest where no plans are scheduled can provide seniors the time they need to rest, recuperate, and mentally prepare for the hectic celebrations ahead. Here at A Banyan Residence, we wish you and your family stress-free holidays and wonderful times together.