10 Things You Can Do to Brighten Your Senior’s Holiday Season
It doesn’t take gift-giving to bring holiday cheer.
For seniors, the holidays just may not be what they once were. There are many reasons. Some are due to a decline in health or physical ability; some to motivation; some due to stress, depression, loneliness or isolation; and some to living situations or distancing from family.
Often the reason is just that the dynamics of the home and family have changed. Changes to holiday observances and celebrations are, in part, a natural progression.
There’s no right, no wrong, nor anyone to blame for such things, but we can do something to make the season one of contentment and enjoyment for the seniors we care for in spite of the cause. Doing so doesn’t have to take up a lot of your time, though you’re sure to find that a little bit of effort can go a very long way to making your beloved senior friend or family member feel that love and inclusion.
Let’s take a look at some simple ways to brighten the holiday season for the elderly you know and love.
10 Simple Ways to Make a Senior’s Holiday More Merry
Help them decorate their home or living space.
Holiday decorations help us all to get in the spirit. They uplift us and bring back memories of holidays past.
As people age, decorating can become difficult and often unsafe. Some seniors stop decorating altogether for those reasons, even though they would still enjoy a festive atmosphere.
Ask your favorite senior if you can help them spread some holiday cheer around their home or living space. The decorations can go all out or just be a touch, depending on what your senior is looking for.
Be sure that all decorations are hung or arranged in a safe manner without creating impediments and keeping in mind that the senior needs to be able to live, move, and function safely in their home. Also consider upkeep. For example, if live trees or plants that need daily care or watering are too much, help them find nice artificial alternatives.
Don’t forget that at the end of the season, your senior will need some help removing decorations, too. Plan for a return visit—that, too will give them something to look forward to!
Take them out shopping for gifts.
For seniors, going out shopping can be difficult. This is especially true if they are not able to drive or have difficulty walking around stores. A trip out shopping for gifts for friends or loved ones can brighten their day. You can relieve some of that stress, anxiety, and difficulty if they know you are there to help them.
Plan before you go. Select shops together that they enjoy but that they will also have an easier time getting around in. Know when and where you can go for a break. Keep the plan flexible if your companion tires.
Help them shop for gifts online.
Maybe a day at the mall is a bit too much. Or maybe they can’t quite find what they’re looking for. Or maybe your senior just wants to join in the online fun but doesn’t know where to start. How about helping them out?
You might find you both enjoy shopping online together more than the rigor of shopping at brick-and-mortar stores. A cup of cocoa and a relaxing afternoon at home online can be a very nice thing.
Help them write and send Christmas or holiday cards.
Writing out Christmas cards is another task that can take on difficulty for aging loved ones, though they may really enjoy the tradition. It’s a time to let friends and family know you care and are thinking of them. A time to reconnect.
If this is something that’s been more difficult for your senior in recent years, see if they’d like a hand with it, even if that hand is just buying stamps or dropping cards off for mailing.
Help them reconnect with friends and family.
Speaking of reconnecting, we all know how easy it can be to lose touch with people that still mean a lot to us, or who once did and who we’d like to talk or visit with again. Ask your senior if there are friends or family who they have difficulty connecting with.
See if you can help find them. Encourage them to write them a letter or give them a call. The online world is a great way to find and reconnect with people again. Maybe they’d like to start a social media account to keep up with friends and family?
Make a signature dish or traditional recipe.
Grandma’s famous sugar cookies? Traditional plum pudding? That secret dish only dad knows the trick to? These are things worth enjoying. And memories people truly savor.
Depending on mobility and interest, make it either with them or for them. If they are willing and able to cook or bake with you, take advantage of that fact and cook together, or, better yet, have them teach you how to make that old family favorite. They will feel valued and enjoy passing on the traditional dish, and you will have preserved that knowledge for yourself and for future generations.
Make a craft or ornament together.
Days can be long for seniors if they have difficulty getting out or if they have reduced their social circle for health or other reasons. And no, not everything we do during the holiday season has to be harried or expensive. In fact, it’s much nicer when it’s not. Some time set aside to make a holiday craft or keepsake ornament can be real quality time together. Handmade treasures make great gifts and meaningful keepsakes.
Attend a service.
Again, issues of mobility or transportation can make it difficult for seniors to attend religious services, holiday events, or observances. Ask your senior if there is somewhere they used to go or that they want to be sure to get to that they need some help attending. Perhaps they’ve been avoiding these places because they have no one to go with. Be that someone. Help them hold onto the traditions and observances that are important to them.
Take a drive to see the lights and sights.
We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again. It doesn’t have to be a great cost of time or money to brighten your senior’s season. Ask them out for a nice evening drive. Find some pretty light displays and enjoy them together, along with some quality time and conversation…and maybe a nice cup of hot cocoa or cider. There’s a whole holiday world beyond their windows; help them see it.
Simply spend some time.
Not everything needs a plan or a goal. Simply stop in for a meal, a cup of coffee, a game of cards, a movie or an unplanned drop-in. Be sure to invite them and include them in your household’s celebrations and holiday dinners. Time, human connection, and a feeling of being wanted and included go a very, very long way to brightening the lives of everyone, our seniors included.
Private Home Care Services is a home care agency with a heart. The wellbeing of the whole individual drives the care that PHCS caregivers provide, supported by an administering body of directors and support personnel. At PHCS, we tailor services to fit the needs of the individual and family support persons. For a personal touch from a company that cares, contact Private Home Care Services. Serving all of Massachusetts and surrounding states to provide personal, quality elder care services and home care services for people of all ages experiencing injury or illness.