It may be true that the holidays are a great time to gather, celebrate and enjoy family and friends, but it can be a stressful time too, especially if you are a senior. It is important for your mental health and well-being to keep healthy eating habits in mind at home and during holiday travel.
As we age, the hustle and bustle of the holidays can take its toll. Sometimes gatherings, shopping, and family demands can be a source of stress. Additionally, holiday meals make it very hard to stick with a particular diet. This means holiday health for seniors can be a real challenge.
Social workers say one issue that crops up every holiday season is that many people simply don’t realize an elderly relative has limits. Some seniors may not express to their family and friends that they have slowed down, so it is always a good idea to offer older people options in term of what to do. It’s important not to assume they have slowed down either, especially when it comes to senior holiday travel. Many seniors could be insulted if you assume they can’t handle travel when they actually can.
There are many ways to make small adjustments to the holidays to accommodate seniors – changes that won’t disrupt celebrations for everyone else. Take a look at the holiday tips for seniors below to see how you can help make the season a little merrier for the people you care about.
Holiday travel can be a lot of fun no matter what age you are; however, careful planning can help a senior’s holiday travel go a lot smoother.
Before going anywhere, it is always a good idea to check in with a doctor. He or she will decide if a senior is healthy enough to travel. This will also give the senior a chance to get prescriptions ready to bring along on the trip.
Once cleared to travel, consider the following holiday tips for seniors:
Metabolism slows as we get older, which makes it more difficult to control weight gain. Excess weight increases our risk of high cholesterol, diabetes and other health-related problems.
It’s important for seniors to continue healthy eating habits during the holiday season. This doesn’t mean they can’t have the occasional treat, it just means they should use caution, such as switching to a smaller plate.
Here are a few healthy eating tips seniors can consider:
Despite what some people think, depression is not a normal part of aging. Like all people, seniors can experience mental health issues, such as periods of sadness, but constant depression is not normal.
If a senior is experiencing bouts of tears, ongoing sadness, lack of sleep or constant sleep, or is experiencing significant changes in weight, this could be depression. When you see these signs in an elderly loved one you should contact a doctor.
During the holiday season, including seniors in activities can be good for their mental health – it makes them feel useful and wanted. Just talking with seniors gives them an uplifting feeling. It is important not to pressure them to do things they aren’t interested in or aren’t feeling up to doing. For example, finances tend to be tighter for seniors so shopping for gifts may not be one of their favorite chores.
The holidays are often thought of as a time for children and their families to have fun, but seniors can revel in the excitement and joy of the season as well; the only difference is that they may have to make some adjustments when it comes to eating, traveling and pacing themselves so they don’t pay the price later on. Family support goes a long way in helping make the holiday season bright and healthy for seniors.
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