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Enjoying the Holidays with Seniors

While the holidays are a time of gatherings with family and friends, they also can be a source of stress for many seniors. (Pixabay)
While the holidays are a time of gatherings with family and friends, they also can be a source of stress for many seniors. (Pixabay)
December 26, 2017

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Holidays can be a wonderful time to reunite adult children and their parents, whether the parents live in their own home, or in a nursing home or assisted living facility.

Family visits also can be some of the best times to evaluate older people’s health and self-reliance, and really find out how they're getting along. As you make up for lost time and express your love, you may also notice whether loved ones have lost weight, or wince in pain when they move, if their home is unkempt or their memory seems to be slipping.

Shad Haston, CEO of the Florida Assisted Living Association, says it's important to be observant.

"Be cognizant of some of the issues that may be going on with seniors – the need that they may have that may not be getting said to their loved one, meaning to that son, that daughter,” Haston stresses. “But it's up to them to be proactive."

Haston adds it's just as important to not go overboard and jump to conclusions, as the holidays can be overwhelming and stressful for some.

But if there are serious concerns, he recommends talking it over with siblings and scheduling a care conference if your parent is in assisted living. Haston says in many cases, parents can be part of these discussions, with the goal of offering strategies to help them remain living independently.

He adds if loneliness is a factor, families can explore generations moving in together or see if assisted living might be an alternative.

"It's better than being alone for a lot of them, and some of these assisted living facilities are almost like resorts,” he states. “So, every day is a fun day, but there are always activities going on, especially during the holidays."

Florida's assisted living industry has been under additional scrutiny after the deaths of eight residents of a Broward County facility following Hurricane Irma.

Gov. Rick Scott's mandate that all assisted living places have emergency power generators and 96 hours of backup fuel is expected to cost the industry about $280 million.

Trimmel Gomes, Public News Service - FL