The importance of home care during the holiday season
New statistics from Age UK show just how difficult and lonely this Christmas will be for older people in the UK. 2.3 million mature adults wish that they had someone to spend time with during Christmas time, and 1.6 million report Christmas Day to be the hardest day of their year. At Birchwood Care Services, we believe that care during the holiday season has a particularly important role. It can provide elderly people with the companionship they desire along with a reason to look forward to the festive season again.
Festive acts of kindness
Homecare providers, like Birchwood Care Services, make a huge effort to ensure that all of our clients have their care requirements not only met but also exceeded over the Christmas period. From small acts of kindness and meaningful conversations to community involvement and fun festive activities, there are many ways that carers help make a difference during the holiday season.
This year, Birchwood Care Group’s care home, Birchwood House, has partnered with us and our local Kent community to help deliver Christmas Wishes to our clients and share the spirit of the season. Activities Co-ordinator Lizzie has organised a community project for clients to receive person-centred gifts. The team has also extended an offer to host clients who may be spending this Christmas away from family at Birchwood House with the staff and residents.
Connecting loved ones
This time of year, though stressful in part, is also ultimately a joyful time for many that is filled with connection and community. Feeling isolated and on the outside of this is a growing issue for our ageing population, so finding ways to help reduce loneliness and nurture clients’ sense of connection with the world is a top priority for Birchwood Care Services’ team of carers.
While some of our clients can join their friends, family or loved ones for celebrations at this time of year, it’s not always possible or practical for everyone. That’s why we make sure that each client can connect with their loved ones from afar, especially if they won’t be visiting home or receiving frequent guests. Sometimes this involves facilitating a phone or video call or helping them to write and send a letter or gift. Nurturing our clients’ sense of community and helping them to strengthen their relationships is always important to us, but it’s especially important at this time of year.
Another thoughtful activity to complete together can be as simple yet satisfying as sending Christmas cards. Carers can assist clients with purchasing, writing, and posting their festive cards. Making time to do this can help clients to feel more engaged with Christmas and connected with loved ones, whilst also instilling a sense of achievement and practising their fine motor skills where possible.
Managing the load
Birchwood Care Services’ team of carers are also able to help clients manage personal care and domestic duties, such as meal preparation and cooking. They can work with clients and their families to bring a taste of holiday flavours into meals, ensuring that clients don’t miss out on their favourite festive meals. Carers can also help clients complete personalised holiday-themed activities. This might include baking gingerbread, creating or carrying out New Year’s resolutions, putting up festive décor, or enjoying their favourite holiday film or card game over conversation.
Carers may also work with clients to organise gift shopping, either online or in person. This may involve taking clients to the shops at a time when they are likely to be quieter and where there are a variety of gift options, making the trip more efficient and an effective use of time. For example, Care UK recommends garden centres, sharing that they can be a good destination as they often have cafés, parking, and easy access facilities. The organisation also shares that it’s important not to expect to get everything done at once and that it’s often more about the experience rather than the outcome.
Supporting each other
Whether you’re a family member, friend, or caregiver, we hope this article will help give you peace of mind that home care providers like Birchwood Care Services are here to look after your loved one this season, and all others. We understand how important it is to be there for our clients, helping them to nurture thoughtful connections and strong communities while offering personalised care and moments of joy. Isolation and loneliness are faced by many of us at various times of the year, but both can be especially pervasive during the holiday season. So, please remember to check-in. If you have any questions about how we can help, please reach out.
You can continue reading more about managing the festive season with last year’s blog about overcoming post-Christmas blues here.