The Holiday Season is a time that families come together, celebrate and spend time with each other – That classic image of Christmas day with the whole family around the tree, enjoying each other’s company.

Sadly, seniors may be spending the holidays on their own due to physical reasons or because they have a small family that lives far away. It is important to make sure that your elderly loved one is included in the holiday festivities because it minimizes loneliness and reduces stress, promoting better physical and mental health. To help include your elderly loved one in the festivities, here are some activities you could do with them to help them out in the days leading up to Christmas.

Christmas Light Displays

If you are not handy, or are one of those ‘Clark Griswold’ types that hang lights and decor each year, not to worry. There are plenty of them out there, so simple Google search will find some charity-driven displays that are free to view. Some neighborhoods go all out with their decorations and be sure to check your local town square, which often have a large tree that is not quite Rockefeller Center, but the traffic should be much lighter!

Whether it is a large Christmas light display or a small neighborhood, take your relative out in the car and have a look. If you are planning on walking around to see the lights, make sure that they are wrapped up warm and you are close to them, the last thing you want them to do is to slip, so make sure they have good footing.

Wrapping Gifts

We recently posted about seniors shopping for gifts, and this is a simple follow up to that post. Now that the gifts are delivered, they may have some that require wrapping. Seniors may struggle to do on their own is wrapping gifts – hands can become stiff and painful, especially when intricately folding lots of presents. Offer to sit down and help them out, giving your assistance where needed.

It is important to still give them some independence and not completely take over the task. Wrapping up gifts is a great way for you and your loved one to talk about the gifts, who they are for and what they are about, giving them an opportunity to talk and communicate with you.

Movie Marathon

Watching films is a great way to lower stress levels among seniors because they can focus on spending time with you and the film. Although watching films as a family is a simple activity, it is very effective and is a form of socializing, even if you are not speaking.

It also opens up questions about the plot and the characters when the film is finished, helping to encourage good conversation.

Cookie Bakes & Cookie Swaps

Seniors typically love cooking, but it can be quite difficult if they are feeling weak or if their hands just aren’t able to move like they did when they were younger. Bring everyone into the kitchen for some cookie and gingerbread baking and decorating in the days leading up to Christmas. This helps bring people in the family together whilst making some quick, easy and delicious food.

If your family and friends are up to it, the best way to get the most variety in your cookie jars is to have a Cookie Bake. Everyone makes a predetermined amount of a specific cookie (enough to give 4-6 cookies per person, for everyone coming). Everyone meets up, swaps cookies, and goes home with a mountain of homemade goodness.

A Night Out

Cooking a Christmas dinner can often be overwhelming for anyone, but it can be extra stressful for those who are elderly with decreased mobility. Christmas is meant to be enjoyable, not exhausting, so it might be a good idea to eat at a restaurant for Christmas dinner.

There are many restaurants both lavish and budget-friendly that offer set Christmas menus around and on Christmas day for families to enjoy. Allow your loved one to pick out their favorite menu, book for a certain day and then just turn up to eat! This allows them to delve into some enjoyable food, spend time socializing with family and friends whilst not worrying about meal preparation. Food brings everyone together.

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