As people get older, their ability to participate in holiday traditions the way they once did can change.
Older adults with mobility problems, like those confined to wheelchairs, might not be able to decorate or make elaborate meals as they once did. Those with dementia may be confused by the holiday or even frightened by the hustle and bustle. Still, it’s important to preserve family traditions surrounding the holidays for the sake of the older adult and for the family members and friends who love them. One way to do that is to alter traditional activities in a way that allows the senior to be involved.
Below are some ideas for helping your aging relative to participate in the holidays in ways that are meaningful and that they can enjoy.
- Change Up the Card Sending Process
Sending holiday cards to friends and family is a time-tested tradition that your older family member has probably participated in for their entire adult life. Unfortunately, vision changes or arthritic hands can make sending cards more challenging. Sending cards can be modified in a few ways to make it easier, such as:
- Use a computer to print address labels for everyone on the card list. Also, print labels for the return address. This eliminates some of the writing involved.
- Send a pre-signed picture card. To reduce, or even eliminate, the need to write, older adults can consider having picture cards printed that include a Christmas-themed photo or pictures from important events during their year, like a vacation. The cards can be printed with a signature line, so the older adult doesn’t even need to sign them.
- If your older family member writes personalized letters to everyone on their list, they might want to send one letter to everyone. They can type and print multiple copies to go with their cards.
Elder care can assist with cards by typing the letter as the senior dictates it or creating the address labels. Elder care providers can also drive the older adult to the post office to mail their cards.
Decorations are an important part of the season for many people, but they don’t have to be elaborate to be enjoyable. Help your aging relative to scale back on decorations can allow them to observe the holidays without creating extra work. For example, instead of setting up a huge tree, consider using a small, table-top tree decorated with the most cherished ornaments. Instead of stringing lights across the front of the house, just wrap a few around bushes or set up a small display of lighted figures.
Elder care providers can help older adults to decorate the inside of their house while also ensuring decorations are safe and eliminating some of the work involved.
Try Online Shopping
Gift-giving is one of the joys of the holiday for many older adults. It’s fun to see the delight on a grandchild’s face when they open the perfect gift chosen by a beloved grandparent. However, getting out to stores and navigating busy malls can be too much for some seniors. To work around this problem, they might want to consider online shopping.
An elder care provider can sit with the older adult and help them to find the gifts they want to give while online shopping. If the older adult wants to go to the store to shop, an elder care provider can take them to a few stores for certain gifts and then help them to finish up online.