• Carrie Klaege

It's That Time of Year Again -- The Holidays

The holidays bring family, cheer, togetherness, and joy, but they can also carry changes in routine, diet, and more. For seniors, these shifts can hinder safety and make the season more stressful. Use the following ideas to help ensure your holidays are happy and healthy.

1. Make healthy choices

From rich meals to tempting and tasty homemade snacks, the holidays are a time for many to indulge in food -- or overindulge. Try to plan meals with other events in mind.

For example, if a big dinner is planned for New Year's Eve, consider serving a lighter lunch of salad or soup.

2. Stay hydrated

Drinking water is one way you can stay healthy during the holidays. To make it easier to stay hydrated, have water easily accessible at home and keep bottled water in a purse or bag when running errands.

3. Follow dietary restrictions

Make sure to follow special diets, such as one that is low in sodium. It can be difficult to adhere to a diet during busy, stressful times, especially if there aren't any healthy options available. To make it easier to follow dietary guidelines, keep healthy options like fresh-cut vegetables and fruit on hand.

4. Drink in moderation

Drinking too much can impair functions for any adult, and drinking alcohol with certain medications can have adverse side effects. Consider offering fun, alcohol-free drinks so everyone can celebrate the holidays.

5. Keep exercising

We are lucky in Southern Arizona to have fantastic weather most of the year! To stick to an exercise schedule, take the family and go for a walk around the block. If it's a little chilly outside, drive to an indoor shopping mall and walk a few laps while window-shopping.

6. Shake up traditions

Between cleaning the house and cooking for a crowd, hosting a big holiday meal can be a source of stress. If you traditionally host a big holiday meal, consider passing the tradition on to the younger generation of family members. If you really want to host, include younger family members to clean up or prepare part of the meal, or use this time to let them learn your traditional recipes.

7. Decrease gifts

For many seniors, especially those on a fixed income, the holidays can be a financial challenge due to purchasing gifts for many family members. To reduce stress from paying for gifts, consider having a family grab bag, where everyone contributes one gift.

8. Rest after traveling

For some seniors, the holidays are a time to travel long distances to visit family and friends. Whether they travel by car, rail or plane, keep in mind that rest upon arrival will allow you to take part in more later on during your visit.

9. Make homes accessible

If relatives are visiting your home for the holidays, ensure your home is safe and accessible. Take up throw rugs, make sure there are night lights installed, and walkways are clear.

10. Take breaks

Between parties and shopping, the holidays often involve busy days and late nights. If you are planning an all-day outing, carve some time for a nap or a way to relax for a bit, even if it is just to sip tea in a cafe. Little kids, seniors and everyone in between will appreciate it.

11. Stay involved

Everyone wants to feel that they are part of the holidays. This includes helping out with holiday preparations like cooking and decorating. Share the tasks and enjoy your time together!

With a few preventative measures and a willingness to change some traditions, seniors can stay healthy and follow their diets, while also having fun with their family members this holiday season.

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