Welcome to the Special Holiday Edition Newsletter 2020!
This holiday season looks so different from those of the past. Instead of trying to find the perfect balance between work, family time and numerous Christmas parties, we must try to find a safe and healthy balance between holding on to family traditions and observing COVID restrictions.
Elite Life Care Services (ELCS) and Elite Guardian Services would like to wish all a very safe, healthy and peaceful holiday season, and a very happy New Year! To all of our essential workers on the frontlines, during the COVID-19 pandemic. You are all very important to your community and we appreciate your dedication and time!
In the constant turmoil of this pandemic, we are all looking forward to the calmness that I am sure 2021 will bring.
The holiday season is a time of celebration and happiness. For many seniors, however, it can be difficult to stay positive and happy during this time. To help seniors combat the isolation, lack of activity, and depression that might occur during the holidays, it's important to stay educated and proactive. Below is a guide to what you need to know about seniors and the difficulties of the holiday season, as well as ways to stay upbeat and positive so the holidays can be a more happy, joyous time.
Seniors may find the holiday season less than joyous for a variety of reasons, but here are a few to consider:
Limited mobility: Many seniors cannot move around as they once did, especially with physical limitations. This can make the holiday season less exciting for seniors, with the inability to shop, visit, and celebrate like others limiting the joy of the season.
Loneliness and depression: Depression, anxiety, and isolation are common among seniors, but the holiday season can make these feelings more severe. Whether it's a lack of social interaction, missing family and friends, or remembering what once was, the holidays can make some seniors feel more lonely than any other time of year.
Memories of the past: Many seniors have a hard time accepting that their current life is not like it was in the past. And around the holidays, memories of the past can be especially painful.
Financial burden: The holidays can get expensive. Between presents, food, and everything else, it can take a toll on our wallets. For seniors on a tight budget, the holidays can remind them of their financial stress and limitations.
Home life: For some seniors, the holiday season is difficult because many no longer live with family or at home. For seniors living in a nursing home or assisted living facilities, they may feel a lack of comfort and tradition that comes with the holiday season.
Ideas for Staying Positive During the Holidays
1. Reminisce in a Positive Way
Memories of holidays past can drum up bad feelings during the holiday season for many seniors. But memories are often some of the best things in our life. Instead of dwelling on things that are now different, focus on all the good that has happened. Use the past to reminisce about your favorite things and people. Take out old pictures, sing old songs, and remind yourself what the holidays are all about.
The holidays are the ideal time to remember traditions and friends that have come through your life, reflect on things that have changed, and appreciate things that haven't. Try using the holiday season to create a new photo album or scrapbook full of your favorite memories.
2. Take Control of Finances
While it is common to feel like you need to spend a lot of money during the holiday season, that is a feeling that must be forgotten. The true meaning of the holidays is love and togetherness, and those who truly love you would expect nothing more. Before you become over-stressed about the financial burden of the holidays, get ahead of the game by creating a budget and plan before the season hits. Give yourself a realistic budget and stick to it. Create lists and stay organized when it comes to shopping and purchasing presents for the holidays. Working through the holidays with a budget in mind will help you not only stress less about money, but also refrain from overspending what you don't have.
3. Get in the Spirit with Holiday Traditions
Sometimes all you need is a little cheer to get in the spirit of the holidays. If you're feeling the blues, try reminding yourself about the greater parts of the holiday season, like the food, decorations, and entertainment. Bake cookies and pies, watch your favorite holiday movies, make crafts, and hum along to your favorite holiday tunes. All of these things help remind us of our favorite holiday memories and traditions, putting us in the right frame of mind to celebrate and enjoy the coming holiday.
Try enlisting the help of family members or friends to help you decorate, make homemade presents, or take you to go see lights in the neighborhood. Sometimes, participating in holiday activities can help not only get you in the spirit, but also become a time to connect with the people you love and make memories.
4. Be Honest and Talk It Out
It can be hard to admit when you have feelings of loneliness, depression, or are simply not feeling celebratory this holiday season. This can be especially true when seniors may see the people they love enjoying the holiday season themselves. But the people around you care about you and are there to support you.
That being said, it is important to seek help and be honest when you need it. Seniors are more likely to suffer from depression, but less likely to seek help for it. Talk about your feelings of isolation or loneliness with family, friends, caregivers, or even a licensed professional. All of these people not only provide emotional support but also help you find solutions to the issues you are currently facing. The holiday season is no time to feel alone.
5. Connect with Those Who Matter Most
During the holidays, family, friends, and the people we love are typically the top-priority. It is a time to appreciate the people in our lives. For seniors having a difficult time, connecting with the people you love can be of tremendous help. Providing love and support, your friends and family can help get you through difficult holidays. Call the people you love often or ask them to call you. Technology is a great way to stay connected with loved ones who don't live nearby.
For those who are not able to see in person, set up a day and time of the week that works for both parties to speak on the phone. Visit family often and let the people in your life know how important those visitations are to you. Find social activities around you to participate in with friends or other seniors. There may be other people having a difficult time as well during this season and will be seeking solace in each other.
This season, take care and fight the holiday blues by heeding the advice given. By taking care of our senior loved ones, the holidays can be a time of celebration, love, and hope for everyone.
Whether it is considered a fresh start, reboot, or New Year’s resolution, here are some ideas to consider that can increase your likelihood of success.
1) Remember who you are and respect that. Even if this year has not been a stellar one for you, know that our thinking creates our experience. Don’t set goals to become an entirely new kind of person.
Settle on goals that build on your own strengths, factoring in known challenges and vulnerabilities instead.
2) Banish the negative self-talk! You know what it is. It’s the shoulds, musts, and can’ts. Should just expresses a rule. Should never changes anything—or keeps it changed long enough to make sustainable progress. Failing to carry out the shoulds, however, has discouraged and defeated many people.
This New Year, let’s start with manageable expectations of ourselves by replacing the shoulds with goals that create a source of sustainable energy, self-esteem, and a sense of gradual, manageable, enduring accomplishment.
Goal 1:Make dedicated time to find joy, fun, and play every single day. At the very same time as the negative experiences are occurring, so are opportunities to experience joy and fun, to have a laugh and to let our child side out in play. This is so important because these three things generate the fuel and energy we need to deal with the challenge that embracing and carrying out change in our life demands of us.
Goal 2:Make dedicated time to remain growing, learning, developing individuals by deciding what interest we may have let go by the wayside while we beat ourselves up about how we are not doing what we “should” be doing! We deserve investing in our own uniqueness by giving a reasonable amount of time to what we would like to learn more about, to be able to do better, or perhaps try something we have always wanted to do.
The reason this is so crucial is that we NEED reminders that we are growing, learning, developing human beings even though at this moment in time we feel stuck, and overwhelmed.
Goal 3:Make dedicated time to create safety, harmony, and peace where we live, even if it has become a hoarded environment. Yes, this is also known as boring old work—de-cluttering, sorting, organizing, and deciding what to do with a multitude of items. A reality of life is that in some part of every day we do need to maintain our own health and well being and that of our environment.
Preparing Your Home For The New Year
With all the holiday activities coming to an end, the New Year is a great time to give your home a fresh start. These tips can help you get your home clean, organized, and prepared for the winter months ahead.
Clear Out the Clutter
Christmas decorations, wrapping paper, and odds and ends that accumulate over the holidays and throughout the year can add to the clutter in your home. New Year’s cleaning and organizing projects can give your home a fresher feel. Now is a good time to:
Make Sure Your Home Is Safe
Properly functioning smoke and carbon monoxide alarms can help keep your family safe. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), 40% of home fire deaths occur in homes with no smoke alarms, and 17% occur in homes with non-functioning smoke alarms. Dead batteries are the cause of one-quarter of the cases of smoke alarm failures. The New Year is an excellent time to test your alarms and replace the batteries. Check the manufacturing date while you’re at it. Smoke detectors should be replaced after 10 years, while CO detectors should be replaced every five years.
Get Ready for Harsh Weather
January and February are the coldest months of the year in many parts of the country. You can stay warmer and save money on energy bills by preparing your home for colder temperatures and winter storms:
When the temperature drops, older adults run a higher risk of health problems and injuries related to the weather, including hypothermia, frostbite, and falls in ice and snow. Like most things in life, it is better to be prepared. Here are a few precautions everyone should take, especially older adults, during the winter.
Hypothermia occurs when your body temperature drops to a dangerous level. Your body temperature can drop when you are out in the cold for an extended time because it begins to lose heat quickly. Older adults are at an increased risk of hypothermia due to changes that happen to your body with aging.
Warning Signs: cold skin that is pale or ashy; feeling very tired, confused and sleepy; feeling weak; problems walking; slowed breathing or heart rate. Call 911 if you think you or someone else has hypothermia.
Note: Shivering is not a reliable warning sign because older people tend to shiver less or not at all when their body temperature drops.
Precautions to Take
Frostbite occurs when your body experiences damage to the skin that can go all the way down to the bone. Not surprisingly, extreme cold can cause frostbite. It is most likely to occur on body parts farthest away from your heart. Common places include your nose, ears, cheeks, chin, fingers, and toes. In severe cases, frostbite can result in loss of limbs. People with heart disease and other circulation problems are at a higher risk. Cover up! All parts of your body should be covered when you go out in the cold. If your skin turns red or dark or starts hurting, go inside right away.
Know the warning signs of frostbite: skin that’s white or ashy or grayish-yellow; skin that feels hard or waxy; numbness. If you think you or someone else has frostbite, call for medical help immediately. If frostbite occurs, run the affected area under warm (not hot) water.
Injury While Shoveling Snow
It’s one of the evils of winter – snow shoveling. If you choose to shovel, take some precautions. Remember, when it’s cold outside, your heart works double time to keep you warm. Strenuous activities like shoveling snow may put too much strain on your heart, especially if you have heart disease. Shoveling can also be dangerous if you have problems with balance or have “thin bones” (osteoporosis). Ask your healthcare provider whether shoveling or other work in the snow is safe for you.
It is easy to slip and fall in the winter, especially in icy and snowy conditions.
Precautions to Take
Fires and Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
During the winter months, it is common to use the fireplace or other heating sources, such as natural gas, kerosene, and other fuels. Unless fireplaces, wood and gas stoves and gas appliances are properly vented, cleaned, and used, they can leak dangerous amounts of carbon monoxide—a deadly gas that you cannot see or smell. These and other appliances, such as space heaters, can also be fire hazards.
If you think you may have carbon monoxide poisoning, get into fresh air and get medical care immediately.
Precautions to Take
Accidents While Driving
Adults 65 and older are involved in more car crashes per mile driven than those in nearly all other age groups. Winter is an especially important time to be vigilant when driving because road conditions and weather may not be optimal.
Precautions to Take
Questions to Ask Your Doctor About a New Medicine
Each time you visit your doctor, tell him or her about new medicines you're taking, and be sure to ask if you still need to be on all your medications.
Five Ways to Spread Holiday Cheer with Senior Loved Ones
Visiting senior loved ones may not be an option this holiday season and this is an emotionally difficult situation for all involved. How can you celebrate and boost your loved ones’ spirits while separated?
Try these creative connectors to maintain family ties through the holidays and beyond.
1. Postmark your love Many seniors treasure holiday correspondence. Ask friends and family to send holiday cards and letters to your loved one. Set up a virtual visit to open this mail together and read the messages to each other.
2. Cook up connections Discuss holiday meal plans with your parents or grandparents. Ask about their favorite seasonal recipes, then set up a time to cook them together via Zoom or FaceTime. Get the kids in the kitchen, too! Some of our loved ones won’t be cooking a traditional Thanksgiving dinner. They simply may not want to or be able to due to their ability levels. If this is the case, deliver your delicious home cooked meal right to their doorstep! Include cards or drawings from the grandkids to make it extra special and fun. They can enjoy the same meal you’re having via a Zoom call or FaceTime.
3. Caring through caroling Tap into happy family memories by gathering around the phone or computer to sing traditional holiday songs together. Share lyrics ahead of time via email.
4. Deck the halls For many families, decorating during the holidays is a beloved tradition. Reach out virtually for a crafting session to make wreaths, garlands, or advent calendars. Mail or drop off art supplies in advance. 5. Listen carefully Communication and active listening are crucial this holiday season. If communication stalls, try creative conversation starters. Hearing a loved one’s personal holiday stories can feel like opening a treasured gift, and they will feel appreciated simply because you listened