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Making the Holidays Brighter for Older Loved Ones

The summer holiday season can be one of the happiest and most carefree times of the year, with long days and warm weather creating the potential for idyllic relaxation. Unfortunately, it can also be a difficult time of year for many older persons. As families head away to far flung places and milestone holidays bring back mixed memories, it’s important to think about how we can be there for the senior members of our whānau and wider community.

Don’t head into the upcoming sunny season without sparing a moment to consider the needs and experiences of the seniors in your life. With the following tips and principles in mind, you can easily make the holidays that little bit brighter for your older loved ones.

Making Sure They’re Included

One of the best things about the holiday season is the way it brings people together, and it’s surprisingly easy to reach out and help the seniors in your life feel more connected at this time of year.

  • When it comes to preparations at family gatherings, give everyone an opportunity to pitch in and help out. For seniors, this might mean assisting with crucial but low-impact prep like table setting, dish drying, or keeping an eye on the little ones. 
  • Take individual limitations into account when planning festivities. Some traditions might need a little bit of modifying to make sure people of all ages are included – this might mean making mindful adjustments to meals, activities, timings, or venues.
  • While the holidays are often a time to look back and remember good times past, they’re also a chance to create new memories with the people we care about most. Chat with your older loved ones about which kind of fun new experiences you can try together!

Making Sure They’re Safe

With some older people striking out on summer adventures and others spending the holidays at home on their own, it’s even more important to look out for the safety and wellbeing of the seniors in your life at this time of year. Whether you’re making your home a more senior-friendly space or arranging extra support while you’re away, take a moment to think about how you can make summer safer for elderly loved ones.

  • Heading away for the holidays? If you’ve got older loved ones who you usually look in on, it could be worth organising a little additional support for them while you’re away. Private Care NZ’s Summer Check-in Care Package includes essentials like cleaning, laundry, medication reminders and more for just $199*, with additional options for ready made meal deliveries and transportation support.
  • When you’re having senior whānau over to visit or stay for a few days, consider how you can reduce fall risks in the home. Even small steps like removing rugs or installing bedroom/hallway nightlights can make a crucial difference.
  • For those spending the holidays at home, having a medical alarm that’s directly linked to emergency triage specialists at the central ambulance communication centre can provide much needed peace of mind. A Freedom Medical Alarms home setup will ensure help is just a button press away in the home and garden, while their GO Pendant is perfect for seniors travelling anywhere in NZ with 4G cellular reception.

Making Sure They’re Seen

In a society that is always chasing the next new thing, the elderly are often made to feel invisible, or less important than others. This can be even more pronounced over the summer holiday period as people get caught up in the busyness of the season, but these simple ideas can allow senior friends and whānau to feel like they’re an essential part of the season.  

  • Holiday traditions are always changing and evolving, but before radically altering this year’s festivities, consider checking in with senior whānau about which traditions are really meaningful to them.
  • Understand that the holidays may be a time of grieving for some, as they remember friends and dear ones who are no longer with us. Make space for everyone to bring their own experiences to the season.
  • Sometimes “being seen” can have a very literal meaning. Try to book in some time to see older loved ones in person – Zoom chats are all very well, but many elderly people really appreciate the personal touch of face-to-face catch ups.

Make this summer a great one for the seniors you love – and when you need a little extra support, remember that the team at Private Care NZ are always here to help.

* See package pricing details here.