Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Three simple ways to spread holiday cheer to the homebound

By Joanna Ignatiades, RN, VNSNY CHOICE Health Plans

HEALTH NEWS- For many of us, the holidays are considered the “most wonderful time of the year.” But, for the frail, elderly, or homebound among us, the holidays can be a disheartening reminder of one’s own isolation and stripped independence.

As a registered nurse and care coordinator with VNSNY CHOICE Health Plans, I understand the fragile set of circumstances that often define this time of year for many people, including grief, limited mobility, and depression. Paying a visit to a shut-in friend, loved one or neighbor is not as consuming as you might think—and can go a long way to spreading the joy of the season in meaningful ways!

Here are a few ways to show a homebound person you care about them this holiday season:

“Bring the Outside In”: For many seniors with reduced mobility, gazing out the window can be an important connection to community and the outside world. Small plants make thoughtful gifts: No matter how small, nature always helps someone feel good. Helping an isolated loved one set up a small bird feeder outside a window can help keep their spirits up and encourage them to engage with the outside world – however small its creatures may be.

“Just for You” Coupons: Handmade “favor” coupons are free, yet meaningful. Offer a “Ten Minute Back or Shoulder Massage,” a “Free Day of Washing Dishes,” or a “Walk in the Park” for some guaranteed smiles. 

The Spice is Right: Healthy spiced nuts and other “sweet” gifts are a two-fold opportunity to spend some quality time with a loved one without sabotaging special dietary needs. 

The Caregiver’s Cookbook has great suggestions: https://www.vnsny.org/article_category/caregivers-cookbook/

For more information about VNSNY CHOICE Health Plans from the not-for-profit Visiting Nurse Service of New York, please call 1-888-867-6555 or visit www.VNSNYCHOICE.org.