During the Holiday Season our lives are taken over by the hustle and bustle of carrying on family traditions while creating memories. We can become preoccupied with the planning of events, attending parties, and accomplishing our to-do lists on top of the usual every day tasks.
While it's important to ensure that you yourself are able to relax and enjoy the season, remember that senior family members long to feel included as well. Here are some tips for creating a festive experience that also incorporates them.
During the holidays we are reminded of previous celebrations, stories, and experiences. Photo albums, home videos, and music can assist in provoking these cherished memories. Talking about them and allowing time for seniors to share their recollections can be enjoyable and memorable for everyone.
Food is a big part of our culture, especially during holiday celebrations. Involving everyone in meal preparation can not only help resolve stress caused when one person is left with the responsibility, but can be a great time for sharing recipes and fun conversations. Even simple tasks such as greasing pans, peeling potatoes, setting the table, or arranging a centerpiece can help your loved ones feel needed.
Attend a Holiday craft fair or tree lighting ceremony.
Local schools and churches often hold craft fairs during the holiday season and these are a great opportunity to get out of the house and enjoy a festive and social atmosphere. Check your city's events schedule for a tree lighting ceremony near you, or get in the car and look at the lights around town while sipping hot chocolate.
Help a charitable cause.
Service for others is one of the quickest ways to overcome feelings of sadness or loneliness, which are often prevalent during this time of year. Annual food, toy, and clothing drives are common throughout these months as well, and getting involved can lift your spirit while helping members of your community. If your loved one is unable to get out but knows how to knit or sew, there are charities and establishments in need of people with these skills. They often have donated materials waiting to be fashioned into hats, quilts, mittens, and scarves. Helping with a charitable cause in any way can be a very rewarding experience.
Reading seasonal stories with children.
You might be anxious wondering how to include your loved one while keeping younger children occupied as well. Having a senior read to them or having the children read to the senior can be a great activity for all involved. Classics about The Night Before Christmas, Frosty, and Rudolph can be found at local libraries and book stores as well as more recent publications. Parenting.com provides a festive list of holiday books which you can find by clicking here.
Attend a Holiday concert or Ballet, or watch together on the television.
Getting dressed up to attend a musical presentation during the holidays can be a great way to get out and enjoy the spirit of the season. Stopping for dessert afterwords doesn't hurt, either! Ballet Idaho's schedule for the Nutcracker can be found by clicking here or you can check with local schools, churches, and performing arts organizations for other opportunities.
If you'd rather stay in, there are endless television programs and movies that are sure to entertain and you can always include festive cookies and hot chocolate or other favorite treats.
Although it may take a bit of extra time and planning to ensure that senior family members feel included during this time of year, the effort will be worth it when you witness the joy of your loved one and the valuable memories that will be created.