Older adults love the holiday season mainly because of the festive activities that come with it! It is one of the rarest times in the year where loved ones gather together and share the holiday spirit.
It might be a little different this year due to the pandemic, but who says you cannot have fun while still adhering to the mandated safety protocols?
Whether you live with some of your family members or in an assisted living community, there is no shortage of safe activities for seniors to enjoy this holiday!
Here are ten of the most exciting holiday-themed activities seniors can try with their family, caregivers, and fellow residents.
1. Putting Up Holiday Decorations
What’s Christmas and New Year without red stockings and large “2021” number balloons on the wall? Get grandma and grandpa’s help with putting up the decorations to make your place homey and ready for the holidays!
You can also make DIY holiday crafts and put them up before the event, like a Christmas wreath, a Christmas tree with family pictures, and cute stockings filled with designs.
2. Bond Through Baking and Cooking
Put on your favorite aprons because you are about to learn your senior loved one’s favorite Christmas and New Year’s Eve recipes! Watch them bake their staple Christmas cookie and cook their mouth-watering “Good Luck” ham.
3. Wrapping Gifts
Exchanging gifts has been a well-loved tradition during the holidays. If your loved one enjoys wrapping and decorating gifts, then you can enlist their help so you can bond and wrap presents together.
The act of wrapping gifts does not take up too much energy, making it a perfect holiday activity for seniors. It is also relaxing and serves as a medium for your loved ones to unleash their creative side.
Make wrapping activities for seniors extra fun using different art supplies like ribbons, colored pens, and art papers.
4. Secret Santa Activity
Seniors living in assisted communities can also enjoy the holiday spirit through fun activities like a Secret Santa event. You can organize this by:
- Having each resident randomly pick another resident to become their Secret Santa.
- Secret Santa’s will then leave an anonymous gift each week to their assigned person.
- Make it fun by designating a gift theme each week. Say, this week’s gift would be “something long” Secret Santa’s would then need to give “long” gifts to their assigned person like a candy cane or even a new cane!
- Before Christmas Eve, hold a reveal party so seniors can meet and bond with their Secret Santas!
5. Watching Holiday-Themed Movies
Another tradition that never gets old is the holiday-themed movies we all love to watch during the holidays!
Invite your senior loved ones and enjoy a feel-good film with the whole family. You can watch the oldie, but goodie flicks like “Home Alone”, “Scrooged”, and “Polar Express”. Or try a new Christmas-themed movie so everyone can share the joy of watching a good film for the first time.
6. Sending Holiday E-Cards
Not everyone has the luxury to be with their families this year due to the pandemic. Many holiday traditions would need to be postponed for the safety of everyone.
But that does not mean that you cannot let your loved ones know how much you miss them this holiday season. Make personalized digital greetings by recording a video message from your household, including your senior loved one, and send it to your distant relatives.
Older adults living in a senior community can also create E-cards through the staff’s help and then send them to their respective families.
7. Play Fun Christmas Games
Despite being cooped up indoors, you can still make this holiday season a fun one by hosting a game night on the Eve of Christmas or New Year!
These games can be played with the whole family or fellow senior residents and caregivers in a senior community.
- Host Christmas-themed charades or a live trivia night.
- Christmas movie drinking game but instead of alcohol, seniors will drink milk instead!
- Christmas Carol Pictionary.
- Holiday bingo, puzzles, and card games.
- Simple New Year’s Eve dance contest
Senior communities can also invite families of residents over so everyone can bond, mingle, and meet new friends! Of course, everyone should still observe safety protocols like wearing a mask, practicing social distancing, and washing hands frequently.
8. Host a Virtual Party
In-person gatherings pose the most significant risk in getting and spreading the disease, especially for the compromised health of older adults. This year, holidays should only be spent with the people of the same household to keep everyone safe.
However, you can still keep the family tradition of spending Christmas and New Year’s Eve with the family by organizing a virtual party!
You can send an E-vite to all your loved ones (including your senior parents or grandparents) and hang out until the clock strikes 12. You can each cook your favorite entrees and eat them in front of your device while catching up with your family.
9. See a Light Show
The best Christmas light shows can be found all over America during the holiday season. Despite the widespread coronavirus disease, your senior loved one can still watch the magnificent light shows this year from afar and in the comforts of your car.
Assisted living facilities can also organize a light show tour by renting a bus and going on a tour of the best light displays around town. This is also one of the best activities for seniors with disabilities or mobility problems.
10. Give Back to the Community
One of the best ways to celebrate the holidays with your senior loved one is by sharing your blessings with those in need. Older adults love that they can still make a massive difference in someone else’s life despite their old age.
You and your loved one can scour the house for donatable items like pre-loved toys and clothes, then donate them to your chosen shelter. You can also donate cooked foods, personally knitted masks by your senior loved one, or even volunteer and help in charity events.