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Reimagining the Holidays: Finding a Portal to Smarter Aging

For all who dream about just skipping the holidays this year, as John Grisham’s family decided to do in his novel “Skipping Christmas” – there really are alternatives. If lessons learned during Covid-19 hold true, finding meaning without a lot of pressure is a worthy goal for this special time of year.

This goal is especially worthy for families dealing with the medical or care challenges of parents or loved ones. Holiday gatherings provide an opportunity to better understand changing realities and begin to sort through options. Holidays can be complicated with lots of competing agendas while trying not to forget to savor the spirit of the season.

Setting priorities for the holiday season.

Experienced care managers at Elder Advisory Group collaborate all year long with older adults and families to understand the challenges of today, and plan for tomorrow. Their message to concerned families is to use a dual lens: what information is needed to better address the changes related to aging and make the season meaningful and memorable for all ages?

Several keys keep holiday time together simpler, kinder and well-paced for different ages. Outline in advance activities that are manageable. Divide tasks and protect the vision. Below are some practical tips to help implement the vision:

Pre-game strategies:

  • Talk with siblings and family members about their day-to-day schedules. Consider detailed calendaring to avoid too much or too little time together, and organize meal time.
  • Hone listening and communications skills towards each other.
  • Share and compare concerns about the parents in advance.
  • Know what topics are “triggers”, and what topics can wait.
  • Find out how a care manager can help strategize options and priorities.

The Gatherings:

  • Thoughtfully and quietly, look for the “Red Flags” (see below).
  • Keep the vision of a positive holiday-time.
  • Lay the groundwork for future conversations.

Post-game Strategies:

  • Review how collaboration with a geriatric care manager can facilitate smoother conversations.
  • Obtain a care management assessment of the medical and care concerns with recommendations and budgets.
  • Care managers will help the family coordinate their concerns and plan an efficient, smart approach.

Care Managers help families with the “Red Flags” of aging.

  1. No children or close family to support the older adult
  2. Conflict in the family
  3. Dementia-related behavioral challenges
  4. Over-caring spouse: burnout
  5. Multiple hospitalizations
  6. Multiple and/or complex medical issues
  7. Confusion about benefits or community support systems
  8. Legal issues complicating the care of a parent
  9. Lack of legal or care planning

An EAG Care Manager can help.

Life is complicated.  But with a care manager as coach to help navigate the minefields of medical and emotional issues, there are better paths to aging. Call 713-624-4288 for a free consultation to prepare for important holiday conversations.

Read More About: Caregiver Stress, From Janet



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