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VOLUME 2 • NUMBER 11 • NOVEMBER 2016

Seniors and Staying Healthy for the Holidays

For people of all ages, the holiday season is a time of excitement, delight, and warmth. However, for many aging adults, the holidays can be a particularly challenging time of year. During the holidays, financial pressures and having little or no family members living close by can greatly affect seniors and bring about feelings of stress, sadness, and loneliness. Here are a few tips to help promote a healthy life balance in mind, body, and spirit during the holidays:

Mind

  • Reduce anxiety by planning ahead. Set specific days and times for preparation, shopping, socializing, and relaxing.
  • Enjoy a little alone time. Take some time each day to step away from the business of the holiday season. Breathe deeply and clear your mind of all stressors and distractions.
  • Monitor your moods. Take notice of sustained bouts of frustration, anxiety, or sadness. Seek support from family, friends, or a mental health professional if needed.

Body

  • Exercise regularly. Whether it's walking laps around the mall with friends, maintaining a small herb and vegetable garden, or going on brisk evening strolls around the neighborhood, seniors can find creative ways to incorporate more physical activity into each day.
  • Practice self-control. Select a few times during the holiday season to indulge in special treats. For all other meals and snacks, strive to maintain a healthy, balanced diet.

Spirit

  • Give to the needy. Donate food, clothing, or household goods to food drives, homeless shelters, and other charities like the Salvation Army or Goodwill.
  • Take up volunteer work. Give back to your community by sharing your time and talents with others by volunteering at local places of worship, community centers, youth organizations, hospitals, and nursing homes.
  • Spend time with loved ones. Reconnect with family members, friends, peers, and acquaintances from the past by sending a letter or email, making a phone call, or sending a message over social media.
  • Invite a special guest to your celebration. If you are attending a holiday dinner or party, ask the host if it's fine to bring a friend or neighbor who has no one to celebrate with.





A Message from Dr. Marco
Dr. Noah Marco, Chief Medical Officer
Seniors in particular, are extremely vulnerable to the feelings of being unneeded. These feelings can be especially prominent throughout the holiday season. During this special time, visits from family and friends can help play a big part making sure seniors are happy and healthy. Loved ones can take advantage of this prime opportunity to provide seniors with the much-needed mental stimulation and companionship they need. Opportunities include asking seniors to help with holiday gift card preparation, wrapping gifts, making homemade gifts, or even taking them to volunteer at food distribution centers or events for the homeless. Visitors can also be an additional source, with health care professionals, to observe for the early warning signs of holiday stress and exacerbation of medical issues. Pay close attention to a senior's environment, physical appearance, and temperament. Look for changes from their typical baseline. Listen for complaints around missing loved ones, hoping not to live much longer, or simply an expression of not feeling worthwhile.

In an article published earlier this month in the New York Times, the Dalai Lama quotes 13th-century Buddhist sages, "If one lights a fire for others, it will also brighten one's own way." During the holiday season where our days are short and our nights are long, please help the seniors you know light their own fires. Nothing shines brighter more than the reflection off a senior's smile.

Happy Holidays



For more information about the comprehensive family of Jewish Home senior care services, contact our Connections to Care toll-free hotline at (855) 227-3745 or click here to complete our online information request form.


The information provided in Senior Health e-Connect is a public service of the Los Angeles Jewish Home and is not intended to constitute medical advice. Please consult your physician for personalized medical advice.
 
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