Seven Tips for a Happier Holiday for Senior Caregivers

The Senior Care Blog's picture

The holidays can be stressful under the best of circumstances.

For those of us caring for an elderly loved one, the possibilities for headaches – and heartache – can multiply quickly. The desire to hold on to beloved holiday traditions pulls at us, but is often at odds with our new reality.

Fortunately, there are things you can do to celebrate the season while still meeting the needs of your loved one.


Bring the party home
If you choose to entertain, invite people to the home of the care receiver. This will create a more comfortable environment for them and reduce the stress of having to travel.

Embrace the popularity of the potluck
Understand that you don’t have to do everything yourself. Ask guests to help with the food and drinks. Invite them to the after-party cleanup!

Smaller is better
Limit the number of people you invite. Large crowds can be confusing and difficult for those who are facing challenges. Talk to friends and family before they arrive so they know what circumstances to be prepared for when meeting with your loved one.


Give from the heart
Don’t waste what precious time you do have on traipsing through malls or online shopping sites. Give the gift of a heartfelt note or the promise to meet for lunch. Less stress for you, greater appreciation from the recipients.

Ask for what you want
This is good advice year-round, but particularly apt during the holidays. When somebody asks what you need, be honest. Ask for assistance or a gift certificate for a grocery store that delivers.

Overall Well-being

Rely on others
If you need help getting kids picked up or a prescription refilled, ask for help. Most people are eager to assist and feel better about themselves after pitching in. Give them the gift of service.

Make time for yourself
Make sure you’re taking time to do the things you love to do. Whether it’s going to a movie or taking a nap, ensure you’ve still got time to pamper yourself.


Carolyn Lookabill's picture
Submitted by Carolyn Lookabill (not verified) on

Set the mood with music. Bring along a CD or two of music that would interest the guests, depending on their ages and musical inclination. If there is a piano or some of the guests play instruments, have an informal "concert" of holiday music or favorite songs. Whether the guests have good voices or bad, who doesn't expect to join in the singing of some holiday tunes. Music can help the guests to feel welcomed, set the mood for the get together, put folks in a festive spirit and music can also be calming and introspective. Let music help your holiday celebrations to be welcoming and engaging to all. Happy Holidays !

The Senior Care Blog's picture
Submitted by The Senior Care Blog on

Thanks, Carolyn. Those are really great caregiver tips (for caregivers or anyone hosting a party). I think you're right on target. The music and activities are all about making guests feel welcome and getting in to the holiday spirit.

David.Virden's picture
Submitted by David.Virden on

An excellent suggestion, Carolyn! Holiday music tends to bridge the gap between generations and provides an outlet for everyone to particpate and feel connected.

Vickie Gangwish, MSW's picture
Submitted by Vickie Gangwish, MSW (not verified) on

Music has been found to be very helpful for many of our elderly patients. The ones who have Parkinsons are responding wonderfully to music from their generation. Many of these folks will normally be found with their heads bent down and being non-responsive but as soon as the music comes on, the movement starts with their feet tapping and moves up their bodies. This is great during the holidays when a number of people are feeling down. Bring on the music and watch the faces light up.

Nikki Buckelew's picture
Submitted by Nikki Buckelew (not verified) on

Great article! Will be sharing with our Certified Senior Housing Professional and course members.

The Senior Care Blog's picture
Submitted by The Senior Care Blog on

Thanks, Nikki. I'm so glad you like it. We'd love to have you or course members visit our blog again and share their favorite holiday caregiver tips, too! It's such special time of the year, and at the same time, it can be a very difficult one. We'd love to provide all the support we can for all of our senior caregivers out there!

Deborah Russo, Interim HealthCare's picture
Submitted by Deborah Russo, ... (not verified) on

Very informative newsletter. Nicely done! Thanks for sharing.

The Senior Care Blog's picture
Submitted by The Senior Care Blog on

Thanks, Deborah ~ Welcome to The Senior Care Blog. I'm so glad to hear that you like our newsletter!

Patti's picture
Submitted by Patti (not verified) on

Thank you for the wonderful tips. It is true smaller is always better for my Mom.

This is a very difficult time. There are days I feel like I am being pulled in different directions. I am trying to have time for myself. It does not always work. But I am trying.

Thank you again,


Alfred Alva's picture
Submitted by Alfred Alva (not verified) on

When my mom was in and out of the hospital in her last 5 years, my sister was very detailed on process and procedure.
She had a nice excel sheet with all my moms 12 medications and the details of every one. Doctors would be impressed and happy.
She got her power of attorney in case my mom was unable to think for herself at any time. The forms are in every hospital ask for them.
Everytime my mom went to emergency they send in the rookie to draw blood! My mom had very small viens so the rookies would take 5 stabs till my sister spoke up and said if you don't get it the fist time! call a veteran nurse and bring the small super thin needles. These steps saved us a lot of time.

Audrey Shakir's picture
Submitted by Audrey Shakir (not verified) on

Thank you so much for including me in this sending. It is helpful, just to know that someone cares enough to put this together and send it out. My family is working with Alzheimer's and that is such a cruel disease to witness. My spirit is lifted just reading this.

The Senior Care Blog's picture
Submitted by The Senior Care Blog on
Thank you so much, Audrey. Your compliment means a great deal to me and all of The Senior Care Blog writers. You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers. I have a lot more Alzheimer's and Memory Care information to publish that you may find useful, too. Please let us know if you have any questions or need help. Sincerely, Lori

Gracia Trethewey's picture
Submitted by Gracia Trethewey (not verified) on

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Ashley Carlson's picture
Submitted by Ashley Carlson (not verified) on

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