Normally the Holidays are the perfect time of year for family members to gather and socialize, including those special seniors in your life. For most families, those Holiday celebrations will probably look a little different this year because of COVID-19 social distancing guidelines. However, socialization is important for older adults any time of year, especially during the Holidays. Since COVID-19 is more dangerous for the elderly, you’ll need to find safe, creative ways for your aging loved ones to join in the Holiday festivities. Here are a few “distance celebrating” ideas that you may want to consider that can help to safely include seniors.
How Socialization Benefits the Elderly
Research indicates that older adults with more fulfilling social lives tend to avoid many of the physical, emotional and cognitive challenges that seniors who are socially isolated experience.
In fact, socialization benefits seniors in these ways:
- Reduces stress. Older adults who are socially active tend to handle stress better, which improves cardiovascular and immune system health.
- Lower risk for depression. Social isolation and loneliness can cause or worsen depression, while socialization has the opposite effect.
- Less anxiety. Seniors who are socially engaged are less likely to experience anxiety.
- Higher self-esteem. There seems to be a correlation between socialization and higher self-esteem and sense-of-worth in older adults.
- Cognitive health. Socializing regularly helps keep seniors mentally sharp, stimulated and intellectually engaged, all of which can boost cognitive health.
- Longer lifespan. Positive social interactions on a consistent basis can also increase longevity.
Distance Celebrating Tips for the Holidays
Whether they live close by or not, using these distance celebrating tips will help make the Holidays feel more traditional for everyone in your family:
Mail greeting cards
Even in this high-tech age people still enjoy receiving greeting cards in the mail. Ask your kids to make their grandparents some homemade Holiday cards, or use preprinted cards filled with handwritten messages. Mailing cards with inspirational messages will boost the Holiday spirits of those special seniors in your life.
Drive over to your loved one’s home with the family and sing them some of their favorite Holiday carols while standing on the driveway. Invite your seniors to join in the singing and then do some “distance caroling” at the homes of other elderly friends and neighbors.
Exchange Holiday ornaments
Ask family members of all ages to make homemade ornaments and then schedule a time to exchange your Holiday creations from a safe distance. Hang the ornaments on your Christmas tree or in the window, take pictures and then share them on social media.
If your aging loved ones are tech-savvy use video chat services like Skype, Google Hangouts or FaceTime to stay connected during the Holidays. Have your kids ask their elderly relatives questions about how they celebrated Holidays growing up. What was their favorite gift as a child? What are their fondest Holiday memories?
Ask your parents to read their grandchildren a Holiday story, or use the online time to share family baking recipes. You can also record video messages by using an app like Marco Polo which can then be watched later when it’s convenient.
Drive by celebrations
In addition to the social aspects Holidays are all about exchanging gifts. Do a drive by celebration and gift swap during which everyone follows social distancing protocols. Then open your gifts while video chatting so that it will feel more like being together in the same room.
If your senior isn’t set up for video chats call them on the phone while the kids are opening their gifts and place everyone on speaker so that they can share in the excitement.
We Love Keeping Seniors Socially Active and Engaged!
Keeping an aging in place loved one socially engaged can be hard when you’re busy or live far away. When you need a hand contact First In Care. As a fully licensed and insured home care agency our skilled caregivers can provide your senior with the healthy companionship that’s needed so they can remain safely and comfortably at home. While serving as an extended family in the home, our compassionate professionals use a unique approach that’s focused on maintaining your loved one’s dignity, self-esteem and independence.
Our family trusted services include companionship care, personal care, respite care, medication reminders, transportation and even 24-hour care. To learn more now about our flexible programs and affordable rates, or to speak with a First In Care advisor about a senior in Manatee County, FL, please visit us at: www.firstincare.com.