The holidays are usually a time to be with our families. It is the time of year when we celebrate traditions, cultures, and religious events. Many families have holiday customs that have been handed down from generation to generation, and the holidays just wouldn’t be the same without them.
As our grandparents, parents, and aging loved ones get older, it is important to honor their traditions and engage them in the festive celebrations happening this holiday season. It is also valuable to recognize that the holidays might be difficult for a senior family member, especially if their friends or loved ones have passed away. Including your elderly family member in fun holiday events will bring joy to everyone involved.
Here are some ways to include older adults in your family’s festivities:
- Cook a favorite meal together. Prepare a dish the senior loved as a child or once prepared as a holiday tradition. Involving the senior in the process, instead of making it for them, allows the senior to feel helpful and needed.
- Make special holiday treats together. Have your loved one help roll out dough, cut out and decorate cookies, tell stories about their favorite sweets from the past. Children will also love to be involved in making these holiday goodies.
- Make a family cookbook. Either organize recipes the senior has stashed away or hunt down some of their favorites from family members. This can also help you prepare dishes they will enjoy and be comforted by.
- Set up a Christmas tree or Menorah. Decorations add so much to the holiday season. Help your loved one feel at home during the holidays by setting up their Christmas tree or Menorah with them. Again, having them help you put ornaments on the tree or plugging in the lights can make the senior feel helpful and involved.
- Watch old family movies together
- Take a walk down memory lane. Holidays bring back memories, and seniors often find great joy in having someone show interest in them and their past. Whether it’s looking through photo albums or just sharing stories, you can help the senior in your life feel loved and involved with this stroll down memory lane.
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