As our loved ones, family and friends grow older, there are many things in life that become slightly harder and less enjoyable such as winter traditions and treats at Christmas. Samuel Holmes, owner and director of Radfield Home Care Bexhill, Hastings & Battle has kindly shared some insightful words of wisdom on this topic, who previous to launching Radfield in Saint Leonards-on-sea, Hastings, dedicated much of his career as a social worker, working with older people.
We are now moving into a season of unusual festive celebrations – how does this look for older people and their loved ones living in a covid society?
Many people are understandably still very afraid of Covid-19 and are being cautious about spending time with each other. The summer was less of a problem, infections dropped and we could meet outside, but now the seasons have changed, and virus infection numbers have gone up, people are being more cautious about meeting up again.
Christmas is typically the time of year when we do travel to see people and attend family gatherings. For many older people, it means being a bit more socially active and in turn is mentally stimulating. The main issues for an older person is that although staying at home may help protect them from the covid virus, it can lead to other serious problems. For example, loss of mobility especially as a result of moving around less can become a problem, the psychological impact of living with so much stress and uncertainty raises concern, and as people are being asked to be socially distant, this can lead to loneliness among other problems.
There is inevitably a substantial group of older people in our community who have been left frightened, suffering the effects of depression and feel very much alone. For many vulnerable and older people, they no longer take pleasure in the things they used to enjoy, and with no end yet in sight, they are finding it hard to look forward to Christmas. And, for some, when life returns to some normality they think they may have missed their last proper Christmas, especially those with serious health conditions.
We know as you grow older, small pleasures and treats like a glass of sherry with a mince pie can become few and far between. Why is it important that we encourage our older generations to not deny themselves these small pleasures?
It’s no secret that not drinking may improve the state of your liver or not eating fatty foods will help your figure, but these concerns can potentially outweigh the overall benefits of denying yourself a treat at Christmas, or any other time of the year.
In moderation, festive food and drink is not sufficiently bad for you to not have at all and it is better to focus our attention on building the positive aspects of an older person’s life – things like keeping mentally and physically active, nutrition, sleep and staying connected to people you love. Enabling older people to think more confidently about their lives, as opposed to focussing on the negative aspects, has got to lead to a more positive outcome. Whatever you focus your attention on will grow, so it is better to pay more attention to the positive aspects of life, rather than on what is perceived as bad for you.
Obviously addictions are the exception to this and there shouldn’t be any seasonal exceptions made for someone with an addiction, especially relating to alcohol.
What activities at home are a must this Christmas for older people with family and friends?
It’s really unfortunate that many older people spend time on their own at Christmas. In these circumstances, it’s important to make sure that they’re included in activities as much as possible in the lead up to Christmas, and of course the big week itself. Examples of these could be a tour of the neighbours Christmas decorations and lights, writing Christmas cards and wrapping presents, and when allowed, having a Christmas meal out.
Although loneliness is by no means an inevitable part of ageing, difficult life events can cause people to become isolated. During the festive period, companionship and the support of friends and family seems to mean even more than usual – which is why loneliness feels even harsher.
Why do older people give up some of the things they enjoy, and how do we encourage them to live their best life?
It’s all too common to see aging adults lose interest in the things they once loved.
In a number of cases, older adults may give up their hobbies or pastimes due to physical changes or health concerns. People who love gardening can give this up, as they can no longer bend or stand as often. In many other cases, the causes are less cut-and-dry. Some older adults simply give up their interests over time because they stop finding pleasure in things. This could be due to a psychological condition.
In some instances, this may manifest itself as a lack of motivation to do things, or general apathy. In other situations, older adults may not get pleasure from the activities they do, causing them to start resenting their interests and hobbies.
Whatever the cause, it can be dismaying enough to see the older generations in your life lose interest in hobbies, relationships, and activities they once enjoyed.
FAood is often the centre of all festivities, and has a way of bringing us together. Some of our favourite memories we hold will be when family and friends have all come together to enjoy good food and good company. Christmas is a time when we should be happy, to be slightly less disciplined than normal, and simply indulge and enjoy!
Radfield is passionate about keeping their clients engaged and encourages them to live life to the full, or thrive and a range of festive activities are planned for both clients and care professionals this Christmas – now more than ever Radfield understands and is privileged to be able to help their clients carry out those all important winter traditions and treats.
If you would like to find out more about Radfield Home Care and the care and support services we can provide for you and your loved ones to help them through such unusual festive times, you can visit www.radfieldhomecare.co.uk or contact your local office directly using our contact form.
Get in touch with your local Radfield Home Care office today and find out more about the support we offer and the difference we can make.