For many of us, the holidays can be a stressful time of year. There are often work, family, and social commitments that run as ragged as we try to buy and wrap all of the gifts, decorate for the season, attend social gatherings and get-togethers, and bake, cook, and create the “perfect” holiday for our families. The holiday season tends to fly by, many times without any real enjoyment of time spent with our loved ones and the traditions that define our families.
For seniors, the holiday season has its own set of challenges. For those whose family lives far away or can’t see them, the holidays can be a lonely, isolating time of year. Once important holiday traditions may fade away without anyone to carry them forward.
Each family or group celebrates the holidays in a different way, and fortunately, we can all make a conscious choice to enjoy our chosen celebrations while maintaining traditions and spending time with our families. For seniors, in particular, it’s are the perfect opportunity to share in what truly makes the holidays special.
When considering a gift for your senior loved ones, a traditional activity, meal, or memento may be the perfect thing, rather than a physical gift. Chances are, there are many things from the past that will bring back fond memories and make this holiday special. There may be cookies, pies, or a particular meal that your parent or grandparent remembers. Taking the time to find an old recipe and recreate may be just the thing to brighten up the holiday and continue traditions that will hopefully be passed to the next generation. Make them their favorite holiday drink or ask them to help you plan the meal so that the family can enjoy it together.
Over the years we all tend to collect things, especially when it comes to decorations. If a senior has moved into assisted living or down-sized their home, any of their things may have been packed away. But, during the holiday season, dig out those special ornaments and decorations. Bring photos, holiday items, and decorate a small tree with the most memorable ornaments. Surrounding your loved one with holiday cheer will make the holiday brighter and bring back fond memories. Take the time to listen to the stories and learn the history of the items that have been a part of so many memories.
Aside from food and decorations, shared activities are probably the most beloved part of family activities. Sharing a game, puzzle, or particular movie might be a part of your family tradition, and as your loved ones get older, those simple traditions become even more important. It’s not about what you do, but spending time together as a family. Attend a church service, play a game, bake cookies together, watch a classic holiday film, or bring in the new year in a special way. Ask your parents and grandparents about their favorite traditions and don’t be afraid to add new things to the mix that the whole family can do together. Even when the holidays end, always make an effort to make new memories and carry on old traditions.
At the Manors, our residents enjoy a wide variety of activities all year round and families are always welcome to attend. Please contact us to learn more about our exceptional senior living communities.