Your Guide to Celebrations for All
The holidays are a wonderful time of year. The entire extended family often comes together with friends, coworkers, and neighbors to celebrate what we have to be thankful for, various religious traditions, and the journey from the dark of the end of one year into the light of a New Year. Or at least they can be.
Unfortunately, these days it seems like the holidays are synonymous with stress, and if you have an elderly loved one or loved ones in a supervised care facility, working them into the holiday mix can prove to be a bit of logistical challenge. Here are 7 tips to help you engage with and celebrate your elder loved ones this holiday season.
1 – Sing and Congregate Together
If your senior loved one is living in an assisted living community or nursing home, consider bringing the holidays to them by organizing family activities that take place at the facility. You can arrange to bring your family into holiday caroling at the facility, or participate in traditional crafts (if the facilities permit), and you can even get other patients or residents involved in the merrymaking.
2 – Spread the Holiday out Over Several Occasions Spent Together
As the affects of aging set in, the marathon of an all-in-one-day holiday can get to be too much for our elders. Consider spreading the cheer out over two, three, even twelve days. Mark the days with either secular or religious holiday activities or crafts.
3 – Go Cruising and Holiday Lights Viewing Together
A terrific holiday activity that can involve as many people as you can fit in your car(s), holiday light viewing can get your senior out of their house or assisted living facility, and packed up with the rest of the family for holiday fun that’s free.
4 – Cook Together During the Holidays
Cooking can be one of the hardest things for some of our senior loved ones to give up as they age. And, perhaps at no other time of the year is the longing to get back into the kitchen as strong as it is during the holidays.
No one expects mom to handle all ten or so dishes by herself any more. But involving our senior family members and friends as a part of the team celebrating family traditions through recipes is a great way to observe the holidays.
5 – Put Together a Holiday Correspondence Gathering
It can be easy to forget that your elder loved ones don’t simply need to receive holiday correspondence. Many of them may need assistance staying in touch with far-flung friends and distant relatives. Helping them with their holiday correspondence while you take care of yours can be a great way to keep them communicating with their larger networks.
6 – Dine Together and Consider Changing Mealtime to Earlier in the Day
One of the hardest things for many seniors to accommodate during the holidays is evening mealtimes. Between the fight to stay awake and the stress of the day, evening meals can sometimes make the holidays more of a burden than a celebration for the elderly. Consider moving an evening mealtime up to mid afternoon, or lunchtime.
7 – Worship Together
As we age, our spiritual or religious practice naturally becomes more important for many of us. At no other time than during the holidays is the need to connect with God greater for some. If your senior is religiously devout, spend the time to take them to their preferred place of worship to observe the religious or spiritual aspects of the holiday season.
Create an Experience That Benefits You and Your Senior This Holiday Season
Accommodating everyone’s needs, wishes, and capacities while bringing together friends and loved ones during the holidays, needn’t be as stressful or challenging as it sounds. With planning, compromise, and a willingness to think a little outside the box, helping your senior loved ones enjoy the holidays with you is as easy as following one or more of the suggestions above.