By Rick Banas of senior and assisted living provider BMA Management, Ltd.
The winter holiday season can be a time of great joy and celebration. There are the religious services, the family traditions, the gift giving and all of the food and drink. Families and friends get together for big holiday parties and smaller holiday gatherings.
At the same time, suicides and deaths are higher during the holiday season than at other times of the year, Bill Blanquart reminded those in attendance at an education program he conducted earlier this week at the Cambridge House affordable assisted living community that BMA manages in O’Fallon, Illinois.
Cambridge House of O’Fallon is one of three Cambridge House affordable assisted living communities located in the St. Louis Metro East area.
Bill is Director of Sales and Marketing for the Cedar Ridge Health & Rehab Center in Lebanon, Illinois. Bill was speaking on Holiday Stress and Safety.
Here are some of the tips he discussed for reducing stress and making the holidays more enjoyable and safer for seniors.
Don’t Be Afraid to Say No
While the holidays often involve busy days and nights, try to maintain as normal of a life during the holiday season as you do every day and try to do everything in moderation.
Carve out some time to rest, relax or take a nap. Also, don’t feel obligated to host or attend parties or family gatherings if you feel the stress level will be too high.
Adhere to a Healthy Diet
Eating healthy is one of the main things we need to do to protect our health and safety. Adhering to a healthy diet can be more difficult during the holiday season because more food usually is available and because people tend to eat more when they are stressed. One recommendation is to keep healthy options such as fresh cut fruits and vegetables on hand. Another is to focus on conversation rather than food at parties.
We usually associate the need to stay hydrated with summer. Believe it or not, staying hydrated is just as important in the winter as it is in the summer. Bill said that his grandmother used to tell him that if your fingers are cracking, drink more water.
Bill recommended drinking an additional two to three glasses a day.
He also reminded us that alcohol and caffeinated beverages such as coffee, tea or soft drinks with caffeine can dehydrate you. He suggested drinking two glasses of water for every one glass of wine.
Exercise is one of the best ways seniors can help preserve their independence. Be sure to keep up with you exercise during the holidays and the winter months. One option is to walk a few laps around an indoor shopping mall.
Take Steps to Reduce the Risk of Falling
If you use a walker or cane, be sure to bring it with you and to use it. Also, be sure to ask for help if you have to walk up steps and there isn’t a railing or ramp available or if the sidewalk or driveway is wet or icy. If you are having older adult relatives stay in your home, be sure to remove any potential tripping hazards such as area rugs and be sure there are night lights in the hallways and bathrooms. Ideally, have them stay in a bedroom that is close to a bathroom.
Remember, Bill said, a fall will usually send a senior to a nursing home. If you fracture a hip, your life span on average is shortened by three and a half years.
Breathing Issues and Allergies
Spray on snow and pine sprays can aggravate allergies. If you are on oxygen, oil based sprays, candles and the burnt oil from e-cigarettes can cause the filter to your oxygen to clog. Be sure to take an extra filter with you.
Our hope is that these tips will help make the holiday season brighter.
All affordable assisted living communities managed by BMA Management, Ltd. are certified and surveyed by the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services. All assisted living communities are licensed and surveyed by the Illinois Department of Public Health.
“BMA Management, Ltd. is the leading provider of assisted living in Illinois
and one of the 20 largest providers of assisted living in the United States.”
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