The holiday season centers on family, so it is important to keep older relatives in mind when you begin holiday planning. Take their needs into account when it comes to traveling, choosing where and when to host events, what food you’ll serve, and what the family will do together. When you include your aging loved ones in your holiday planning, the season will be more fun for everyone, young and old.
Here are a few tips to consider when you start planning your holiday:
Visiting Elderly Relatives
Sometimes, bringing the holiday celebrations to your senior relatives can be easier for them than traveling to you. If you live far away, you may want to discuss where you’ll stay during your visit — having guests can be overwhelming for your older relatives, especially if you have young children. One good option is to book a hotel room. If you’re only staying for the day, find out when your relatives usually eat meals and go to bed, so you can coordinate your visit accordingly.
When Seniors Visit You
When your senior loved ones come to your house, your holiday planning will need to focus largely on their needs. If they are spending the night, make sure they have a comfortable place to sleep — a private guest room if possible, otherwise you or the kids can give them your beds. Air mattresses are not ideal for seniors because they are difficult to rise from, which in turn can create a fall risk, the leading cause of injury among those over 65, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Making Travel Plans
Coordinate travel plans for your elderly relatives early in your holiday planning, especially if they are coming from far away. Booking plane tickets, rental cars, or livery service in advance will allow you to choose the best accommodations for your aging loved ones. The CareGiver Partnership states that many airlines offer priority check-in for those with special needs. Make sure your loved one packs all his or her medications and other health care necessities. You can ask a neighbor to help if you can’t be there, or go over everything they need with them on the phone.
Food and Entertainment
Your holiday events should be designed for everyone, including your elderly relatives. Consider starting the festivities earlier than you might normally, so events don’t run too long into the night. When making your menus, take note of any dietary restrictions your senior loved ones may have. Dishes that can be frozen and reheated are ideal if you are heading to your senior loved one’s home.
By starting your holiday planning as early as possible, you’ll have plenty of time to iron out the details. Everything from sleeping arrangements to preparing meals for the family and coordinating travel needs can take time, so it’s best not to leave it until the last minute.