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Senior Citizens and Holiday Etiquette 101: Tips to Keep Your Aging Loved Ones Comfortable at Your Next Holiday Gathering

The holidays are a time of celebration we all look forward to spending with friends and family. This time of year is for making memories and cherishing time spent with those you love. As you prep your menu, deck the halls, and plan activities for your holiday gathering, be sure to put special consideration into how to keep your aging loved ones comfortable.

Here are some helpful holiday etiquette tips from Aging Care Solutions.

Don’t take offense. Sensory deficits — such as loss of taste buds — are common for older adults. Don’t take offense to commentary such as “it doesn’t taste like it used to,” from the senior citizens at your table. Older adults may lose up to half of their taste buds, so foods they once loved may not taste as they remember. Keep salt, pepper and extra condiments on the table so your older guests can add spices to their food as needed.

Consider noise levels. Hearing loss is also common among aging adults. The more people and background noise at your holiday gathering, the more difficult it will be for older adults to hear conversations. Turn off the holiday music, place children at a table in the next room and consider using paper plates and plastic utensils to cut down clinking and clatter. Seating older adults with their backs against a wall can also help to maximize the sounds of conversation.

Keep an eye on the temperature. Maintaining an ideal body temperature can be difficult for senior adults. Keep a sweater or shawl handy, or an afghan folded on the sofa so your guests can stay warm if they get too cool.

Include appetizers and snacks in your menu. Keep in mind that most older adults tend to eat earlier in the day and may become hungry if the meal isn’t scheduled until later in the evening. Prep appetizers and snacks to serve guests before the main meal.

Be flexible. As your loved ones age, their wishes for how to spend holidays and their ability to participate in preparation and activities will change. Be flexible and willing to change your holiday plans as needed in order to help your aging loved ones enjoy quality family time without undue stress.

No matter the circumstances, make every effort to spend quality time with your senior family members and friends this holiday season. Remember, the time spent together is more valuable than any tradition, meal or holiday activity.

At The Cottages, we make every effort to make the holidays a special time for our residents. Each of our locations hosts a Christmas dinner for family members to attend with their loved ones. We keep the mood festive playing Christmas must and our residents stay busy with holiday entertainment including cookie decorating and visits from carolers. If you’d like to learn more about our memory care facilities in Dallas, Austin, Houston and Amarillo, contact us today.