The Importance of keeping Seniors engaged and active during the Holiday Season
The holiday season is a great time for loved ones to gather around the tree and by spending time enjoying the Christmas spirit of peace, love, and joy. However, the season can be stressful for some seniors who live alone or not have family near by to have fun during this joyous time. Seniors may feel left out, sad, or may even get bored if they are just siting around and not actively enjoying in the holiday activities. Keeping seniors engaged tn the season is important, and here are some reasons.
Christmas is for everyone to enjoy, including seniors! Yet many seniors tend to fall sick or find it hard to stay healthy and active, since most don’t leave their home during the winter months. To keep the elderly from getting bored and their minds active, there are some fun and exciting activities for them to participate in with family and friends. Many games and activities can help keep your mind sharp and avoid memory declines, which is common in the elderly. Choosing activities that are fun to do, but not hard to achieve for yourself or an elderly parent. Physical activity is a good idea, as long as they are still physically able to play the game or activity. For instance, running or playing sports are good for only those still very active. Know your elderly parents physical limitations before getting started on any christmas activity. Activities can be simple, like decorating stockings. Or you can build a Gingerbread house with the grandkids, which may be more complex, but not impossible.
Festive Activities for Seniors to do
Below are the top Christmas activities for the young and old to enjoy this holiday season. The first few can be done in the weeks before the big day, while other can be done within the week of Christmas itself.
In the beginning of the month…
Sending Greeting Cards: A great way to stay connected to others is by sending holiday greeting cards. Seniors can keep a little notebook of all their family and close friends’ addresses so they can make sure everything goes well.
Make a Gingerbread House: Getting together with the family to make a gingerbread house is fun and a great way to get into the holiday season. Plus, you can always eat some of the yummy leftovers, or add them to the tree.
Donate a Shoebox Gift: For seniors that want to give back to the community where they live, setting up a shoebox event can be a fun activity to do this. Helping children in need would love receiving this gift full of love and goodies. It is also a great way for seniors to “pay it forward”. Organizations like Samaritan’s purse is known to help in this.
Create Hand-made Ornaments: Seniors can find numerous types of DIY ornament kits to do with family and friends. Choose one that fits your style and get the whole family together for a fun-filled activity for the holidays.
Decorate a Wreath: This activity is a fun and easy for seniors. Let seniors get in the spirit by having them pick out several wreath ornaments, ribbon, or even bows to add to the wreath for a perfect design. Then hang it over your front door for a perfect display to get into the holiday spirit.
Go Christmas Shopping: Another fun activity for seniors is shopping! This is a great way to keep your elderly parent still active and healthy during the season. Help seniors create a wish list, then take them to the mall and help them pick out special gifts for the grandkids, or for themselves!
Tour a neighborhood Holiday Light show: There are many communities that create light displays for the holiday season. Some displays you can either do through foot or car. Some are even synced to holiday music. Most start right after Thanksgiving, and run til the end of the year.
Help seniors set up a Christmas Tree: This activity is fun for the whole family. If you are like most people, the christmas tree ornaments are either stored in the attic or basement during the rest of the year. So, get out the boxes and start decorating the tree with tinsel, garland, ornaments, and of course lights. Decorating the tree is not only fun to do, it can bring together the family for an exciting time.
During the Christmas week…
Catch a Holiday Concert or Play: Although some plays can be in the beginning of the holiday season, many are put on during the last few days before Christmas. Invite your senior parent to attend the grandkids’ christmas play or concert. They can enjoy themselves with good music and funny performances from the kids. They will not only enjoy it, but it can be a night they will never forget.
Go Christmas Caroling: Almost everyone enjoys Christmas caroling around the neighborhood. It makes the season feel so much more bright and exciting, especially for those who can’t get out of the house.
Have a Cookie-Decorating Competition: Get all the icing, sprinkles, and edible goodies you can buy and make this a night you won’t forget! Bring the family all together for a fun and friendly competition. You can even get the Grandparents to judge! Or have them partner up with one of the kids to make it even more fun.
Share Traditions from the past: Many seniors love to share about past holiday traditions. They love to reminisce about some good times they experienced and share it with the younger ones. Sharing memories also helps keep them alive and remember what is important to them, especially during Christmas.
Fun activities for Seniors when going out on the town
- Get together with family and close friends and walk around the neighborhood to admire the Christmas-lighted houses along the way, including all the lawn decorations.
- Take a ride through a local city park to see the Holiday cheer that is displayed around the park.
- Go to your favorite restaurant for a delicious meal with close friends and family.
- Walk through the mall or popular shopping center to see the holiday decorations that are on display.
- Enjoy yourself by going to watch a feel-good holiday movie with family at the theater.
Other fun holiday activities for Seniors to enjoy
Have A Holiday Photo taken with family
Taking photos with your elderly parent can help make them feel part of the family during the holiday season. It is also a great opportunity to remember the reason for the season, while capturing some fun moments for all to remember as the years goes on. Adult children taking care of their elderly parents can also put together the pictures as a fun activity, like a family scrapbook. Seniors can then enjoy reminiscing about the happy times and remember them later.
Organize A Secret Santa Gift Exchange
This is a great way to have seniors get more involved in preparations for the holiday and to find a special gift for either their adult child or grandchildren. Secret Santa gift exchanges also helps senior bond with family members they may have not seen in a while.
Organize a craft event with family
Another great way for seniors to come together and enjoy the holiday season is by making crafts. Many seniors are sometimes alone during Christmas, which can make it a sad time of the year. However, if you bring seniors together for some arts and crafts, it could help keep them occupied and avoid feeling alone. Choose a craft activity that they enjoy and show interest in doing. Examples of some craft ideas are pine cone Christmas tree making, Christmas Tree Twig Ornament Craft, and Christmas Tree Button Crafts. All of these are great to do with the whole family.
Have a gift wrapping party
Not everyone is good at gift wrapping, but it could still be a fun and festive activity for seniors to do during the holidays.
Playing games with the family
Another great christmas pastime is getting the family together to play a board game or cards. Playing cards is common activity for the elderly, not just during the holidays. They love play cards with close family and friends, and the fun can last for hours.
Consider the Energy level of the Senior
Although is is good and fun to encourage seniors to get involved with the holiday events, you should always make sure they are up for all the excitement. Encourage them to be apart of the family gathering activities, but make sure you don’t overwhelm the senior. Keeping the activities low-key and easy to modify for the elderly is highly recommended. If you are an adult child with an elderly parent, always look for signs of fatigue or tiredness. Sometimes taking short breaks in between activities can also help with all the excitement. If you have an elderly parent with dementia or Alzhiemers, they can become confused or tired easily with everything going on. Have seniors take a nap if they feel overstimulated.