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Ensure Seniors Have a Healthy Holiday

The holidays are a difficult time for everyone. Senior citizens can sometimes face unique concerns in addition to the ones that the rest of us encounter during this time of year. With a little bit of extra care and thought, the entire family can have a great time this holiday season.

Slips and falls are dangerous because the elderly have an increased risk of injury. Crowded family rooms and kitchens combined with food everywhere can create many opportunities for a disaster. Place a towel by the door for people to dry off as they come in so you avoid rain or snow on the floors. For the same reason, winter weather can make it dangerous for the elderly to walk alone outside. Fitness is important at all ages so go with grandma for a walk. It will provide cardio and quality time.

Medication can be hard to keep track of and it seems that the older we get, the more we have to take. With the hustle and bustle of the holidays, it’s important to remember that all medication should be taken on schedule and as directed.

Alcohol and caffeine are substances that younger populations take for granted. They often affect the elderly in different ways and can cause serious problems if mixed with medication.

Excess sugar and carbs can pose a problem because as we age, our insulin resistant diabetes risk increases. This doesn’t mean the elderly shouldn’t enjoy a piece of pie, but maybe it should be a little on the smaller side.

Depression can cause serious health complications and the elderly may be even less equipped to deal with it than others. For many, the holidays are stressful and sad. For their own physical and mental health, senior citizens and those who love them should learn how to recognize and combat depression.

Preparing the holiday dinner can be intense and time-consuming. Your 75-year old Aunt Susie shouldn’t have to do it all alone. A potluck with plenty of healthy holiday dishes would be a great way to help out.

Stepping down as host or hostess can be very difficult for older family members. Younger family leaders are often eager to host holiday celebrations and try out new (often healthier) recipes. Although it’s great to improve on traditions and make them more fitness-friendly, don’t forget about the impact that it has on the elderly. Make sure you include them in your planning and remind them that they are important to the celebration. Don’t completely forgo traditions in your quest for the greenest and healthiest holiday.

December 16th, 2010

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