With each passing year, you’ve probably become more and more aware of how precious time with your senior loved ones really is. However, with the hustle and bustle of the holidays, it can be easy to overlook the importance of – and benefits from – spending quality, engaged time with your older family members. Maybe it’s time to insert some fresh new ideas into this year’s holiday celebration? Below are four ways to have truly enjoyable holidays with your senior loved ones.
1. Create a New Tradition
This can be as simple as taking the entire family to a church service or taking a scenic drive to see neighborhood Christmas lights. You could spend some time singing carols or filling out holiday cards to send to servicemen. The main point is to ensure it is something the entire family can do together, from your seniors to your children. Take the time to fully enjoy the holidays with your senior loved ones. Think outside the box, keep a positive attitude, and approach each new experience with an open mind. You will likely be surprised at how much the entire family enjoys the new traditions.
2. Include Everyone
Seniors, especially those with the beginning stages of memory loss or with trouble communicating, often get relegated to the living room, sitting on the couch quietly, watching tv or just waiting. Try breaking up large takes into smaller ones that can be shared among all age groups. Senior loved ones can help by folding napkins or filling drink glasses with ice. Or perhaps something more involved like teaching a younger person how to prepare a favorite holiday dish. When everyone comes together, the holidays with your senior loved ones become even more memorable. By pairing up the generations, you spark conversations, memories, and help build relationships.
3. Dig Up Old Memories
Holiday gatherings are an excellent time to reminisce about happy holidays of the past. Set aside some time to pull out old photo albums or videos. Your younger guests will enjoy hearing your senior loved ones talk about what life was like when they were young, or their favorite holiday memory. Be sure to remove all pressure from the situation, especially if your loved one is experiencing memory loss. But you may be surprised at how photos, videos, and even music can bring back wonderful memories that your senior loved one is happy to share.
4. Spend quality time together
If your senior loved one is active, encourage them to get out and about with the grandkids or youth of the family. There are many fun and creative ways for the generations to spend time together, including:
- Shopping for gifts to give to other members of the family
- Visiting special holiday light venues
- Attending holiday plays and performances
- Caroling around the neighborhood
- Volunteering together at a toy drive or food pantry
- Watching a local parade
- Visiting a live nativity scene
As you make your plans and start creating your new holiday traditions, be sure to keep your older family members in mind. Remember that the extra effort you’re putting into creating new experiences during the holidays with your senior loved one will be well worth it for you and your family for years to come. Today’s new tradition just might be tomorrow’s favorite holiday memory.
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