This year, it may not be possible to celebrate the holidays with our loved ones the way we’re used to. Instead of getting on a plane for a visit or shopping together at the mall, staying safe and healthy might mean social distancing, or staying at home. Nonetheless, there’s still an expectation of togetherness and celebration at this time of year. This pressure to enjoy oneself can actually bring on more melancholy feelings than older adults may like to admit.
We think there may be an unexpected silver lining to social distancing. With more time on our hands, it’s easier to pick up the phone and call a loved one or keep a weekly video dinner date with the family. The surge in ways to interact online also means there’s no need for someone to feel isolated or left out if they own a smartphone or tablet. Here’s a list of 10 holiday activities for elderly loved ones that the whole family can be part of.
1. Video Chat
Online apps such as Skype, Zoom and FaceTime enable you to interact when you can’t be there physically. If your older family members don’t have access to a smartphone or computer, an old-fashioned phone call works wonders too.
2. Play an Online Game
Schedule a regular time for play with an app where everyone can join in from their separate locations. Jackbox.com offers popular online games for families for a subscription fee, or try a free app like Houseparty.com, which offers a variety of games.
3. Start a Holiday Book Club
Decide on a list of holiday-themed books to read together. This is a good way to connect while social distancing and gives you something in common to talk about.
4. Sing Holiday Songs Together
Find favorite songs and share the lyrics with your loved one. Set a time where you can all sing along during a video call. Or subscribe to a karaoke site like Karafun.com where the music and lyrics are all online.
5. Bake Festive Goodies
Honor the family tradition of making a special treat or meal during the holiday season. Set up your smartphone or tablet and participate in a virtual cooking session. Or ask your loved one to demonstrate how to make that special treat, step by step.
6. Shop Together
Shopping together during the holidays is a popular family activity. Call or video chat your family member while gift shopping online and ask for their opinions and ideas.
7. Watch a Movie
Choose a classic feel-good movie or funny comedy that everyone will enjoy, and share comments and laughter over the phone.
8. Exchange Holiday Cards
Finding just the right card and adding your personal message is a meaningful way to connect. Enclose a blank card with a stamped, self-addressed envelope to encourage your loved one to write back.
9. Holiday Streak
Show your loved one how to use Instagram to start a “streak.” By exchanging at least one photo or video every 24 hours, the number counts up on your accounts.
10. Look at Family Photos
Gather together old family photos and ask your loved one about them. This can be an engaging holiday activity for elderly family members. It allows them to be the center of attention as they identify people in the photographs and share stories about them.
Planning holiday activities for seniors doesn’t have to be complicated. Sometimes, the most important thing you can do for an older loved one is to spend time with them. Regardless of what you decide to do together, any time you can spare will be a precious gift. Here are more ideas on how to use technology to stay connected.
At The Heritage at Brentwood, we understand that the holidays can lead older adults to have feelings of senior loneliness and senior isolation. That’s why community life here is designed to include and engage every resident. From festive decorations to delicious seasonal treats to entertaining events, there’s always something going to brighten spirits and add merriment to the day. If you’re wanting to learn more about our senior living community, give us a call today!