The holidays are a festive time of year for family members to gather and socialize, including those special seniors in your life. Unfortunately, the holiday season is a sad and lonely time for many older adults. But socialization is vital for aging adults any time of year, especially during the holidays. Finding safe, creative ways for your aging loved ones to join in the festivities can be challenging with everything else on your “plate.” What follows are five fun holiday activities for seniors that you may want to consider this year.
How Socialization Benefits Older Adults
Studies have found that older adults with more fulfilling social lives tend to avoid many physical, emotional, and cognitive challenges that socially isolated seniors experience.
Research indicates that socialization benefits seniors in these ways:
- Stress relief – Older adults who are socially active tend to handle stress better, which improves cardiovascular and immune system health.
- Less anxiety – Seniors who are socially engaged are less likely to experience anxiety.
- Lower risk for depression – Social isolation and loneliness can cause or worsen depression, while socialization has the opposite effect.
- Higher self-esteem – There appears to be a link between socialization and higher self-esteem and a sense of worth in older adults.
- Cognitive health – Socializing regularly helps keep seniors mentally sharp, stimulated, and intellectually engaged— all of which can improve cognition.
- Longevity – Positive social interactions consistently can also increase one’s lifespan.
Fun Holiday Activities for Seniors
Here are five ways to make the holidays feel more traditional for everyone in your family while including older members in the festivities:
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 and then go caroling together at the homes of other elderly friends and neighbors.
Many seniors don’t put up holiday decorations for one reason or another. Ask family members of all ages to make homemade ornaments, and then schedule a time to exchange your holiday creations. As a family, hang the ornaments on your Christmas tree or in the window. Take pictures of all the family decorations and then share them on social media!
Mail greeting cards
Even in this high-tech age, people still enjoy receiving greeting cards in the mail. Ask mom to help you make some homemade holiday cards or dad to help you sign and address preprinted cards filled with handwritten messages. Addressing envelopes and mailing cards with inspirational messages is a great way to boost the holiday spirits of those special seniors in your life!
If mom and dad live far away and 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. Or, record video messages by using an app like Marco Polo and then watch them later when it’s more convenient.
In addition to the social aspects, holidays are all about exchanging gifts. With COVID-19 still looming as a threat, large family holiday gatherings aren’t always safe nor practical. Do a drive-by celebration and gift swap during which everyone follows social distancing protocols. Then open your gifts while video chatting to make it more like being together in the same room!
Caregivers That Love Helping Seniors With Holiday Activities
Busy schedules and long distances sometimes make it difficult for families to involve older members in the holiday festivities. At First In Care, our compassionate caregivers can step in and provide your senior with the attention and companionship they deserve. While serving as an extended family in your loved one’s home, our highly trained professionals understand what’s required to maintain a client’s quality of life, along with their dignity and self-esteem.
In addition to companionship care uniquely tailored to your family’s needs, First In Care also provides in-home support for other daily living activities like personal hygiene, light housework, medication reminders, and transportation. Our senior caregiving services are affordable, flexible, and always delivered in a seamless package that restores your peace of mind. To learn more now about our private home health and concierge services in Bradenton and Manatee County, Florida, please visit www.firstincare.com.