When your loved one lives at home it can leave you wondering how to include them in traditional holiday celebrations. It does take some adjusting, but it is possible to include senior loved ones in holiday celebrations so that everyone feels the joy and hears the laughter. Here are some suggestions on activities to carry the merrymaking to your loved ones.
What to do before Christmas and Hanukkah:
Whether they live in their own home, assisted living or a nursing home, you can enjoy these things together:
- Sing favorite holiday songs together. Even those suffering with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease can still sing along with their favorite songs. It is one of the mysteries of the disease that even though cognition declines, song lyrics can still be retrieved from the memory.
- Cook or prepare holiday foods together. If your loved one can join you in your kitchen, ask for help in ways that best fit his or her physical and cognitive abilities. It can be anything from peeling carrots to arranging food platters. If your loved one lives in a nursing home take cookies, frosting and decorations to them and decorate them together.
- Ask your senior to help you with holiday cards. You can address the cards, fill and seal the envelopes together. It is a great opportunity to talk about the people you know and memories of family and friends.
How to handle the holiday itself:
Depending upon the situation of your family, visiting a family member at home on a holiday can be challenging. However, if your loved one is fully cognitive and knows it is Christmas Day or Hanukkah, it is important to visit them.
- Start talking about this with your children well before the holiday so that they are prepared for a change in schedule.
- Include them in the preparations and ask them to create some fun things to do or small handmade gifts to give when you visit the nursing home.
- Take presents and snacks to your loved one in the afternoon and spend time with them.
Making sure your senior is well cared for will reduce your stress and help them to enjoy the holidays.