The holidays are a special time when our thoughts turn to celebrating together. But they can also be a time of loneliness for many, especially seniors. They probably have fond memories of holidays past when they were the ones doing the planning, and can sometimes feel left out of the whirlwind of social engagements that happen at this time of year. Here are a few ideas for creating new memories with the seniors in your life through simple “together” activities like decorating, baking or cooking, or doing crafts.
Join Their Activities
If your loved one lives in a seniors community, see what events they are hosting. Many residences hold holiday parties, concerts, and other gatherings that family members can join in on.. There’s also a wide range of events in the community that your loved one may be interested in. Ask them! Maybe they are just waiting for an offer from you to accompany them.
Go On an Outing
If your loved one doesn’t have a lot planned, then check what’s on in your community. There are so many fun things to do during the holiday season. Museums, winter craft markets or local fairs are great family activities. Seeing shows like The Nutcracker fun idea that’s enjoyable for all ages.
Decorating is a great way to get the whole family into the holiday spirit because it’s something everyone can do together — you can even share in the activity virtually over Skype or video-call.. You can make or buy your decorations, and if your loved one’s living space doesn’t allow for something large, get creative and decorate a gingerbread house or make your own wreath.
This is something that appeals to all ages, and is a great way to bring seniors together with the younger generations. Have young (or older) children plan their favorite crafts. Visit www.pinterest.com for inspiration or check out this list of 52 craft ideas for seniors. Holiday decorations are always a fun idea, but you might even try something more ambitious like decorating pottery. Making your own holiday crafts is a fun way to create both new decorations, and new memories along the way.
Cooking or Baking
Cooking or baking family recipes can be a very special bonding experience for multiple generations. Anyone can take part in a cooking or baking adventure. It’s an opportunity to pass on family favorites, and explore new recipes and flavors together. Savor the food as well as smiles.
If You Can’t Be There in Person
Call or skype your loved one if you won’t be able to physically see them during the holidays. You can reach out to their residence or care team for assistance with scheduling. Another option is to make and/or send them a holiday card. They will appreciate that you are thinking of them and they can hang it up and have a cheery reminder. If you have a young child, have them draw a picture for your senior loved one. Homemade drawings and artwork is a great holiday gift.
Combating senior loneliness around the holiday season is very important because it’s a time that’s meant to be shared with family and loved ones. Holidays can bring up a lot of memories for anyone, especially seniors, who have a wealth of life experiences. It is also important for caregivers to make sure that they are getting time to recharge. Be sure to include your senior loved one in any activities or plans that they can be involved in. If they are far away, a phone call or handwritten note will be sure to inspire some holiday cheer.