Home for the Holidays
I love the last two months of the year.
These are the holiday months when we cook non-stop, making excessive amounts of unhealthy treats. We brine a turkey for 24 hours then smoke it for 8 hours. The grocery stores are full of Rice, Corn, and the elusive Wheat Chex. There are special displays in the store containing all the ingredients for green bean casserole or sweet potato pie all in one location. The streets light up with holiday twinkle. Dads are hauling the lights out of the attic and preparing to ascend a rickety ladder and risk life and limb to have the house shining like a beacon in a neighborhood sea of suburban darkness. Moms are placing wreaths on the doors and garland on the stair rails and mantles, converting the interior of the home into a scene from a holiday snow globe. Children begin to get antsy as the temperature drops and the days off from school rise. There’s a holiday smell of sugar and cinnamon and cider that permeates the house, a bouquet of autumnal notes from scented candles and potpourri. Poinsettias of all sizes sit atop any available table top.
Senior Care Management Solutions co-owner Jason Gibert
with his grandfather, Hayley Cathey Dandridge, circa 1983.
The holidays evoke a feeling; a feeling attached to the sights, smells, flavors and memories from years past. And for most, the holiday feeling is one that involves family and togetherness. Adult children travel from around the world to come back home. Back to the place and the people who are the source of their holiday memories past and future. It’s a joyous time.
However, the holidays can be an abrupt revelation to many adult children. This is the time when they recognize that their parents are declining in their ability to remain safe at home alone.
The following are signs to look for:
- The decorations that were once elaborate are now non-existent.
- The house that was always spotless and organized is now dirty and disheveled.
- The car has some dents and scratches.
- Pots, pans and pot holders have burn marks.
- The refrigerator is full of old, expired food.
- The mail is piling up.
- Mom and dad have bruises that indicate they’ve fallen recently.
- Mom and dad appear to have lost considerable weight.
- There are medicine bottles with too many or too few pills in them.
- Laundry is being neglected.
To adult children who are seeing these signs,
we are here to help.
A caregiver from Senior Care Management Solutions can help you and your parents address these issues. Yes, even the decorations. We will meet with you and your family personally, and help you sort out your fears and your questions. You will be able to set your schedule based upon your individual needs. Together we will put a plan in place that will keep mom and dad safer and more independent at home than they ever could be alone. It will give them new life and energy, and it will give you peace of mind. We are but a phone call, text, or email away. We will be your eyes and ears for you when you must leave your parents after the holidays are done.
I know it’s sobering and deflating.
I, along with my parents and sisters, spent most Christmas Eve nights with my grandparents dining on Kentucky Fried Chicken (because preparing a holiday meal had become too exhausting for my grandmother) and afterward opening gifts, full of joy and excitement.
But I spent Christmas Eve in 1992 and 1993 in a hospital room with my grandmother. I spent Thanksgiving of one of those years eating a TV dinner alone with my grandfather.
I know others who have experienced such loss and tragedy over the holidays that it’s incomprehensible. If you live long enough, you will have some sad holiday moments woven into the larger fabric of all the cheerful memories. It’s the sad ones that make the others so bitter sweet. The lessons and example set forth by our parents and grandparents are the guide that push us to create memorable experiences for our own families.
If you need assistance or advice caring for your senior loved one, let our family-owned company serve you and your family. It will truly be our honor.
Lastly, for all the joy the holidays do bring, there are countless senior citizens throughout our community who live alone and have no family. Loneliness at any time is heartbreaking, especially during this time of year. Check on your elderly neighbors and shine some light into their lives.