Simplify. Simplify. Those words of Henry David Thoreau echo in my mind during the holidays, especially when I think about our aging parents.
If I have one piece of advice I’ve gleaned over the years, it’s this: Don’t let your parents’ medical conditions steal your family’s holiday joy.
First, you may want to start a conversation. Ask your parent, “What is most important to you during the holidays?” Just having the discussion honors your parent and may enlighten you as he or she shares memories of long ago.
Together, narrow the list to a few favorite activities that can be done with help from you and your family.
My father, a retired pastor, loved writing family Christmas letters. When he moved to a nursing home, he wanted to continue his favorite tradition. Parkinson’s had robbed him of his ability to write. Fortunately, my younger brother Jim pitched in to help compose the letter. Jim’s wife and children were enlisted to type, photocopy and address envelopes.
Your parent’s list of favorite things will be unique. In the retirement community where I worked until recently, several residents make Christmas cookies every year. Their kids provide ingredients and support. Others in the community attended “The Nutcracker” as a group. Still others enjoy Christmas caroling.
Even if your parent is homebound, he or she may enjoy decorations, holiday music, movies and family recipes.
In my next post, I’ll list more specific tips for bringing simple joy to the holidays.
Do you have any ideas you’d like to share for making the holidays special for your aging parent?