The holidays are a festive time of year filled with fun activities for those of all ages. But for many families, holiday planning will look a little different again this year because of the lingering presence of COVID-19. Since COVID poses a more significant threat to seniors, you’ll need to find safe ways for your aging loved ones to join in the holiday festivities. What follows are some fun holiday celebrating ideas for those special seniors in your life that can also safely be done from a distance.
How Social Interaction Benefits Older Adults
Based on scientific evidence, older adults with more active and fulfilling social lives are less likely to experience the same health problems that socially isolated seniors face.
Studies have found that regular social interaction benefits seniors in these ways:
- Psychological Health. Seniors who are socially engaged enjoy a greater sense of belonging and higher self-esteem levels. When seniors connect with peers passionate about the same things, it forms lasting bonds and confidence. Seniors who connect and regularly socialize are less likely to suffer from depression and anxiety.
- Physical Health. Older adults who exercise and participate in group classes are less likely to develop health problems like osteoporosis, heart disease, and cancer. Because socially isolated seniors are more likely to skip meals, getting out and socializing can lead to sharing meals with new friends.
- Cognitive Health. According to a 2008 AARP article, social interaction can keep Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia away. Seniors with a large social network are less likely to develop dementia and are more likely to participate in physical activities, further reducing the risk of dementia.
Holiday Distance Celebrating Ideas for Seniors
Whether your aging family members live across town or in another state, these distance celebrating ideas will help ensure that your holidays feel more traditional for everyone:
Homemade greeting cards
Even in the digital age, people still enjoy receiving greeting cards in the mail. Ask your kids to make their grandparents homemade holiday cards, or use preprinted cards filled with handwritten messages. Receiving cards with inspirational messages will boost the holiday spirits of those special seniors in your life.
Ask family members of all ages to make homemade ornaments, and then schedule a time to exchange your holiday creations from a safe distance. Hang the ornaments on your Christmas tree or in the window, take pictures, and share them on social media.
If mom or dad are tech-savvy, use video chat services like Skype, Google Hangouts, Zoom, or FaceTime to stay connected during the holidays. Ask your parents to read their grandchildren a holiday story, or use the online time to share family baking recipes. You can also record video messages by using an app like Marco Polo that can be watched later when convenient.
Drive over to your loved one’s home with the family and sing them some of their favorite Christmas carols while social distancing on the driveway. Invite your seniors to join in and then do some “distance caroling” at the homes of other elderly friends and neighbors.
In addition to the social aspects, holidays are all about exchanging gifts. Do a drive-by celebration and gift swap during which everyone follows social distancing protocols. Then open your gifts while video chatting to feel more like being together in the same room.
If mom and dad aren’t set up for video chats, call them on the phone while the kids are opening their gifts and place everyone on speaker so that they can share in the excitement.
We Love to Help Seniors Enjoy the Holiday Season
Involving aging loved ones in family activities from a distance isn’t always easy. At Dependable Senior Care, we are a fully licensed and insured home care provider with highly qualified caregivers who are well trained and carefully screened. Our personalized in-home solutions are available 7 days a week, ranging from a few hours per day to 24-hour and live-in care. For your peace of mind, DSC is owned and operated by healthcare professionals with over 80 years of combined experience.
Our compassionate in-home caregivers can provide daily living assistance for personal care, respite care, nursing care, companionship care (including the holidays), and Alzheimer’s and dementia care. With offices in Palm Beach and Broward County, Dependable Senior Care is your family trusted source for senior in-home care in South Florida. To learn more now or schedule an initial consultation, please visit us at www.dependableseniorcare.com!