Thanksgiving was such a highlight for Marcy this year. Several years into her retirement she began having some memory deficits and her loving family made sure she would have the proper care and mind stimulating activities in her assisted living home and Memory Care program. Even though it was already becoming a bit chilly in Oklahoma City, Marcy’s heart was warm as she recalled the wonderful Thanksgiving dinner her family had planned for her as well as the grand meal she shared with her friends at her community. There was so much to be thankful for this year. Marcy’s family had also given her a little gift to remind her of their love throughout the new year – a calendar highlighting all the good times they had together in the year past. Each month, she would have good times to remember with her family!
The holidays are often the most wonderful time of year for seniors. They get to see family, enjoy hugs, good food and receive some cherished gifts. Many senior communities celebrate this time of year to the fullest with decorations, social events designed especially for their residents, music and cheer. No wonder everyone loves the holidays! As you bake those Christmas cookies, put the last touches on the tree and make a shopping list, remember the seniors in your life. Here are some ways you can share the love and warmth of the holidays with them this year, and even into the New Year!
Keeping the memories alive
You probably have some great pictures of the good times you’ve had with your senior this year. Many of the Covid-19 restrictions were finally lifted, and elderly family members were once again able to see their families again, get hugs and go on more outings. Consider helping them remember all the good times by designing a personalized calendar for the New Year, loaded with pictures, events and perhaps even some bright stickers to mark upcoming special days. Your senior will continues to feel loved and look forward to another great year!
Family gifts. Get the kids involved in making grandma or grandpa a special craft! Design an Advent Calendar so your senior will have something special to anticipate every day leading up to Christmas Day! In each day’s box, you could put in a special little item such as candy, a tea bag, a picture or something else they might enjoy. You could also write a little note for each day from different members of the family. Make sure to let caregivers know if your loved one will need help to access the calendar each day so they won’t miss out on any of the fun!
Baked goods. Make some extra batches of cookies or pie to take for your senior. There is nothing like home made treats! Plus you’ll get to see your loved one, give them a hug and encourage them to attend the holiday events with their neighbors in their community. Social interaction is often an important element in a senior’s life, so make sure to ask them about their friends and holiday activities going on around them.
Save them a seat at the family Christmas dinner. Seniors love seeing family and being included in family activities. If you are planning on inviting your elderly loved one to your family dinner or Christmas party, make sure to provide them with the comfort they need. It can also be fun to include their favorite holiday dish, make sure there is a gift for them under the tree, and play some traditional Christmas music they likely grew up with. If your senior is in an assisted living or nursing home and are not mobile anymore, you can bring Christmas to them. Plan to sing a few Christmas carols and bring some good leftover pumpkin pie to share!
Have fun this year and celebrate the holidays to the fullest with your senior! Build memories and continue to let them know how much you love them throughout the New Year with gift ideas such as personalized calendars, notes, pictures and of course in person visits as possible. It’s a good idea to remember their health as well. If you are sick, reschedule that visit and give them a phone call instead for now. And make sure any family members or guests who will be visiting with your loved one is healthy, including the children. This can be the best holiday season yet for your whole family!