Make new memories this season with these unique holiday activities for aging loved ones.
Oh, what fun – the holidays are here! After all of the virtual visiting and fear of getting together during the height of the pandemic, it’s especially joyful to be able to gather with family to celebrate. Yet for older adults, this time of year can be an emotional one, filled with nostalgia for holidays past, grief over loved ones who have passed away, and oftentimes, health concerns. Planning some fun holiday activities for aging loved ones that the whole family can participate in together is a great way to spark joy and create new memories the senior can reflect on long after the holiday season has passed.
What kinds of holiday activities will everyone enjoy?
The tricky part of planning multigenerational holiday activities is ensuring each person can participate according to their own ability and interest level. Our caregiving team has some tried-and-true ideas to get you started!
Have a gingerbread decorating contest. Pre-made gingerbread kits make it easy! Whether you choose gingerbread houses, gingerbread people, or any other variation, set out different colors of frosting and candies and let each person design their own creation. Pick up some award ribbons and then create a unique award category for each: most creative, most colorful, funniest, largest, etc.
Host a holiday movie night. Pop some popcorn, provide plenty of blankets and pillows, and gather the family together to watch some holiday classics. You can even make this an add-on to the gingerbread decorating activity above, and munch on your tasty creations while you enjoy the movie!
Take an evening drive to view holiday lights. Let the family member with the largest vehicle chauffeur everyone to ooh and aah over the beautiful holiday lights in your neighborhood. This is also a great time to prompt the senior to share stories of holidays past and how traditions have changed over the years.
Have a holiday singalong – or, go caroling! Let each person choose some of their favorite holiday songs, and if possible, have someone provide accompaniment on a piano or guitar (although singing a capella is fun too!). If you’d like an audience, check with local nursing homes to see if any are welcoming holiday carolers this year. This can be a great source of joy for older adults in assisted living facilities.
Decorate a senior’s home together. In particular, if a senior lives alone, they may not feel up to pulling out all of the stops when it comes to decorating for the holidays. Bring the family over to help, along with some holiday cookies and cocoa. Ask the senior about different ornaments and what memories they hold as you’re decorating. Have the kids create paper chains, paper snowflakes, or other simple decorations to add to the mix. And, don’t forget to return for an after-holiday undecorating party too!
How can home care help?
Home care is a great way to help a senior more fully enjoy the holidays! Not only can a caregiver provide additional ideas for holiday activities for aging loved ones, but they can help by:
Providing companionship and socialization to help lonely seniors overcome the holiday blues
Offering transportation and accompaniment to holiday attractions and family events
Helping with shopping, gift wrapping, writing cards, and decorating the home
Preparing nutritious and appetizing meals – even baking holiday treats together if the senior wishes