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Health Q&A

Posted December 05, 2012 in Advice Column, Clear Lake

Q: How can I help home-bound friends celebrate the holidays?

A: For most people the holidays are a time of joy and celebration, but for many the holiday season can be lonely, isolating and depressing. We can go from having loved ones around us and a very busy schedule to suddenly becoming a shut-in. Those we have loved and created a life and family with may fade away.

Here are some tips to help home-bound elders and other shut-in individuals get through the holidays:

• Find a project, handwork, letter writing, etc. that will interest them.

• Send them a “care basket” of fruit, goodies or baked goods to show them you care.

• Visit them and help with tasks around the home.

• Get them involved in preparing Christmas dinner.

• Provide them with favorite holiday music, activities, foods.

• Bring them a thoughtful gift to keep them occupied such as crosswords, puzzles or card games.

•  Help them send and address Christmas cards.

Information provided by Holly Windelow, co-owner, Help At Home Senior Care LLC, 141 N. Clark St., Clear Lake, 641-525-0332,,

Q: How can I decrease the amount of stress put upon seniors during the holidays?

A: Christmas is joyful time of year that also comes with an additional level of stress. Multiple travel plans and an uprooted routine can cause stress for seniors. Try the following tips to make a holiday visit less stressful for seniors and their families.

• Schedule wisely. Traveling and meeting with people all day can be physically and mentally exhausting. Don’t schedule too many visits in one day/week, but do schedule ample time between visits to rest.

• Limit the amount of daily routine disruptions. Seniors have their own daily routines. Make sure you know what time your senior family/friend likes to eat, nap and go to bed and respect those schedules. Many seniors find it hard to adjust to too many disruptions to their daily routine.

• Plan appropriate activities. Keep your senior’s abilities in mind when planning activities. Don’t plan a long shopping trip for someone who has difficulty walking or standing for long periods of time. Avoid long travel times for someone who needs frequent visits to a restroom.

• Socialize but don’t overwhelm. Include your senior in conversations but remember that too much noise and commotion from a large family gathering can lead to irritability or exhaustion.

To learn more about the topic of “Enjoying a Stress-Free Holiday with Your Senior,” attend Oakwood Care Center’s free “In an Oakwood Hour” lunch and learn on Dec. 12 from noon to 1 p.m. Call Katie Mason at (641) 357-5244 to reserve your spot at this free lunch.

Information provided by Katie Mason, marketing coordinator at Oakwood Care Center, 400 Highway 18 W, Clear Lake, 641 357-5244.

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