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Weekly Tips & Insights

How to Celebrate the Holidays With a Sick Loved One

Updated: Dec 7, 2023

Though the holidays should be a time full of love, joy and celebration, illnesses can sometimes can get in the way of these good times. Caregivers, and the sick people they look after, may become exhausted and isolated from friends and family due to the need for constant care.

This season, it’s important for people who are dealing with illness or caring for those who are, to engage and interact with others in order to combat loneliness. Because no one should miss out on the very connections that make the holidays so special, here are some tips to help make the most of this time of year, despite unfavorable situations.

Join the Chorus

Music has the power to lift our moods and studies have even shown that music can improve overall well-being in palliative care. Furthermore, listening to classic holiday tunes can create a sense of nostalgia bring back happy memories of holidays past. Reminisce on the good old days, while still enjoying time together in the present with some of you and your loved ones favorite songs of the season. Play your favorite holiday albums, or find a playlist of the classics online, and invite friends, family and/or neighbors to join in a sing-a-long with you and your sick loved one.

Deck the Halls

Whether you’re celebrating in a hospital, or a small room, a little holiday decor can go a long way. It’s easy to create a cheerful environment, with just a few key items that are sure to bring a little holiday spirit into any atmosphere. Allow everyone - well or sick - to participate in the decorating process by gathering colorful ornaments and hanging on a small tabletop Christmas tree. Be sure the tree is lightweight and easily mobile, or placed in an out of the way area, so as not to interfere with care.

Another option to make the room a little brighter is hanging up lights around the room. This doesn’t have to be a complicated setup - simply wrap the lights around standing structure, like a floor lamp, or use a few light clips to hold them up. Make sure to keep cords safely out of the way to prevent trips. Be creative about the little festive touches you can add to a the environment.

Stroll Down Memory Lane

Movies are not only a great way to connect with loved ones, but they’re also a wonderful way to get in the holiday spirit. Fortunately, all kinds of holiday movies are frequently broadcast on television throughout the season, and there’s a good chance that some of your childhood favorites will be shown at some point. Check to see when some of the classics are coming on, and be on the look out for films you’ve never seen before that may become new favorites.

Celebrate Virtually

Video call tools such as Facetime, Zoom or Google Chat make it easier than ever to facilitate video calls with relatives on the holidays to catch up. Though it's not the same as being in-person, it's a more personal alternative to a phone call that allows you to see each other's faces and environments. Scheduled a video call with a loved one who is maybe too sick to make it to the celebration to let them know you're thinking of them.

These are just a few ideas to help make the season merry for those who are sick or caring for the sick. Whether or not a sick person can participate in their favorite holiday traditions, there are many opportunities to start new ones that bring just as much joy.

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