More so than any other time of year, the Christmas season has become one especially orientated around the family. The classic image of a festive scene includes the entire clan coming together for a few days in the holiday to share good cheer and seasonal celebrations. It remains a holiday for all generations, and everyone in the family will find something to enjoy about it.
It’s unfortunate that at Christmas many older people spend the holidays on their own, whether due to physical limitation or because their family no longer lives nearby. In these circumstances, it’s important to make sure that they’re included in the holidays.
Having someone to spend Christmas with greatly reduces stress in older people, which promotes greater mental and physical health. It takes very little effort and can be enjoyed by everyone no matter their age. To help get older generations more involved with the Christmas season, consider these activities to include them with in the run up to Christmas Day.
Take them Christmas shopping
It’s important for seniors to keep active and get out and about. The main risk behind old age is becoming sedentary and spending all day in the house. This risk is especially pronounced during the winter months, where cold weather and shorter days make people more reluctant to venture outside.
A simple and easy way to persuade people to get out of the house is to take them shopping, and there are few times of year better suited to it than Christmas.
Try and go earlier in the day to avoid the worst rushes, and avoid taking them out over weekends for the same reason. See if there’s anything they’d like to get in for the holidays, and also take the opportunity to take them to any seasonal activities taking place in town. Most towns will have a Christmas fair or event taking place at some point during the season.
Tour the neighbourhood’s Christmas decorations
Another opportunity to get seniors out of the house, this time in the evening, is to take them to see people’s Christmas displays. As well those set up within town, many neighbourhoods are particularly well known for setting up dazzling displays up in their homes. Some are even famous enough that people come from far and wide just to look at them.
Whether it’s an entire light show hosted by a village, or just a street where you know the lights are impressive, take your elderly relative out in the car and have a gander. If you need to get out and walk at all, make sure that they’re wrapped up warm and keep close to them. At this time of year pavements can be very icy and dark, so be sure they have good footing or at least a strong arm to keep them steady.
Write Christmas cards
Christmas cards are a great and enjoyable way to encourage older relatives to reach out to and keep in touch with friends and family members alike. Help them compile a list of people they’d like to send cards to, then spend some quality time writing them out.
If you wanted to be creative, you can also have a go at creating your own personal Christmas cards. Arts and crafts are fantastic for all ages and are great for people with dementia. The images can help trigger lost memories and encourage them to reminisce and remember past events. Otherwise, it’s a great way to help keep the hands busy, and maintain some dexterity.
Bake Christmas treats
A classic Christmas activity, many older people enjoy baking as a pastime but not everyone can always manage it past a certain age. Many may struggle with mixing in the batter, while others may have lost dexterity in their fingers and can’t crack eggs as well.
Get everyone in the kitchen to help with some Christmas baking, whether it’s some festive cookies or a traditional Christmas fruit cake. Nothing brings people together like making enjoyable food, and Christmas is the perfect opportunity to do so.
Have a Christmas meal out
Much like baking, cooking a traditional Christmas meal may be beyond the scope of some older people. In some cases, it’s because the physical act of cooking simply exhausts them. In cases where they may spend the holidays alone, it could sadly be that there’s no one really to cook for.
Whatever the circumstances may be, one of the best ways to help seniors get ready for the run up to Christmas is to take them out for their Christmas meal. They get all the trimmings of a Yuletide feast, yet with none of the hassle and waste. It’s also an activity that can involve a lot of people, allowing them to socialise and enjoy good company for the season. As we’ve said before, good food is a great way to bring people together.
Help wrap gifts
One last Christmas activity where seniors may struggle on their own is wrapping Christmas gifts. Older fingers aren’t as deft and nimble as they used to be, so they may struggle with the Sellotape, the ribbon, or the scissors. Offer to sit down and help them out, offering a pair of hands where needed.
It’s important, whatever the task, that you afford them a little bit of independence. Don’t do the whole task yourself – only assist where they need you to. This is their activity, and they’ll feel more self-worth the more you let them do.
Wrapping up gifts is another good way to help seniors jog their memories, allowing them to remember things more clearly and get them talking. If they’re sending gifts to friends and relatives, take the opportunity to ask lots of questions, and gently prod them to keep talking.
Are you looking for some help looking after your older loved ones at home? At SuperCarers, we can connect you with compassionate and experienced home carers near you who can help you with personal care, cooking, cleaning and companionship. Call us on 020 8629 1030 to speak to one of our care experts.
You may also be interested in our article about Christmas gift ideas for the elderly.