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Posts Tagged ‘Holidays’

familyDoes the rush of the holiday season leave you feeling as if you might be missing something? With so many things to do and places to go, it is important not to overlook elderly family members. For many, the holidays are filled with celebrations and festivities with family and friends, but it can be a difficult time for those who have difficulty getting around, or are confined to their homes. Many seniors report feelings of loneliness and isolation, and these feelings can be exaggerated during the holidays. Seniors might choose to forego family celebrations and festivities for fear of falling or being a burden.

Unfortunately a day out with an elderly person cannot be spontaneous. However, with a little pre-planning and modifications, holiday traditions and activities can be made easier and safer for senior family members.  Contemplate ways to include older relatives who may have difficulty getting around.

First, consider the activity. Is it suitable for elderly family members?  When planning, some factors to think through are:

  • How far can the elderly person travel?
  • Are the costs affordable to the senior?
  • How much walking is involved?  Are there hills or other obstacles that would make it hard to navigate?
  • Is there wheelchair access?
  • Is there parking nearby?
  • Are restrooms easily accessible?
  • Are there benches or chairs that can be used?

It is also important to think about what you need to take with you on any outing. You will want to be prepared for anything. For example:

  • Make sure you have all the medications needed. Take an extended supply, just in case you are still out when the next dose is due.
  • Have clothing appropriate for the weather and the outing. Comfortable shoes and warm weather clothes are important. Bring along extra clothes in the case of an accident.
  • Bring some snacks and plenty of water.

Once you get to the activity, the next step is to be alert to any hazards or problems that might occur. Holidays are a joyful time of year meant for get-togethers, memories, and a touch of nostalgia. However, the holiday season can be one of the most dangerous times for seniors. For example:

  • You may be perfectly capable of navigating the string of Christmas lights sprawled across the living room floor, but an elderly person may trip over them and experience a severe fall.
  • Be aware of how decorations may affect your loved ones ability to move freely throughout the home without increasing the risk of falls. Just because you can easily navigate the extra decorations, doesn’t mean that your loved one will.
  • Look for extension cords or floor rugs that can lead to a fall.
  • Consider the effect that too much clutter can have on a loved one with dementia or Alzheimer’s. Too many lights, music and decorations can prove to be too overwhelming.
  • Make sure that walkways are clear of ice and snow.

The holidays give seniors something to look forward to, provide a stimulating change of scene, and create pleasant memories to carry with them. So, even though it may take a little extra planning and work, involving your senior family members in holiday celebrations can improve the meaning of the holiday season.

Sources:

http://www.ncoa.org/

http://aging.ohio.gov/home/

http://www.gmhfonline.org/gmhf/consumer/factsheets/depression_holidays.html

Writer: Kathy Green, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Butler County

Reviewer:  Cheryl Barber Spires, SNAP-Ed Program Specialist, Ohio State University Extension, West Region

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Lazy Daisy Cake RecipeI have things about my family that I wonder about . . . . How did my grandparents meet? What was life like for them years ago? What were their family traditions? According to the Search Institute, family assets are the everyday things that families do to be strong, even in challenging times.

Take time this year to learn about your family traditions. What are your family recipes? When I was a young adult my grandma wrote out her recipes for me in a recipe book and gave it to me one Christmas holiday. Those recipes in her handwriting are precious to me. I recently found a similar recipe book and vow to copy or write the recipes for the second book. Why? I would like for both of my daughters to have a recipe book with their great grandma’s recipes. I hope to continue the tradition of the Lazy Daisy Cake that my grandma often made. Informing the younger generations about our family traditions helps them know about their family history and traditions and can strengthen their sense of family support.

QUILT

My Grandma Treber loved to quilt and when I was a teen she taught me to hand stitch. I picked my purple (my favorite color) and white and we started piecing the quilt. She cut out the pieces of the quilt and I made a few squares. She taught me the importance of tiny stitches and how you have to be precise if you want the quilt squares to fit correctly. We both worked on the quilt but she did the majority since she had more time to work on it than I did. One day when I stopped by for a visit, the quilt top was finished. She’d been working on it while she watched her stories (afternoon TV shows). That quilt and the time I spent with my grandma hold precious memories for me.

The Search Institute identifies Family Assets that help families be strong. When families have more of these research-based assets, the teens and adults in the family do better in life.

Establishing Routines
• Family meals – Family members eat meals together most days in a typical week.
• Shared activities – Family members regularly spend time doing everyday activities together.
• Meaningful traditions – Holidays, rituals, and celebrations are part of family life.
• Dependability – Family members know what to expect from one another day-to-day.

Each of these qualities is important and strengthens your family. For additional information about Family Assets, visit the Search Institute website. Everyone can play a role in developing and strengthening these assets. All members of the family including children, teens and the adults contribute to these family assets.

Recipe Book

Perhaps this is the year that you will talk to your parent or grandparent about their family stories. Collect those recipes and make them into a family recipe book. You might enjoy interviewing a family member and recording their responses. Use your phone, flip camera or other recording device to capture those family memories. You will be rewarded by spending time with a family member and offering them a family book or recording to treasure. There are many options for you – online recipe cards, recipe boxes, and recipe or cook books. Have copies made for family members – what a wonderful Mother’s Day gift you can create.

Writer:  Michelle Treber, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Pickaway County, treber.1@osu.edu

Reviewer:  Dana Brown, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Morrow County, brown.4642@osu.edu

Sources:  The Family Assets Framework retrieved from http://www.search-institute.org/familyassets/framework

Hosier, A., Jenkins-Howard, B. & Mineer, S., Creating and Maintaining Family Traditions, University of Kentucky, Cooperative Extension Service, College of Agriculture, retrieved March 2013 from http://johnson.ca.uky.edu/sites/johnson.ca.uky.edu/files/FCS/Creating_and_maintaing_family_traditions_pub.pdf

 

 

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