Coming up with gifts for the older adults in your life can be difficult. Many parents and grandparents already have a home full of family photos, personalized mugs, fuzzy slippers, and homemade gifts. So, when it comes to material things, there is often little our elderly loved ones want or need.
But everyone wants and needs to feel appreciated, to feel like they belong, to feel understood, and to feel safe. So, this holiday season, instead of taking a trip to the mall or spending hours browsing the Internet for the “perfect gift,” why not focus on making your loved ones feel extra special by spending time doing more for and with them?
This year, give the gift of your time and make an effort to include seniors in your holiday festivities. There are many ways to make the holidays extra special for the seniors in your life. Here are a few suggestions:
Help put up decorations for the holidays.
If your elderly loved one lives alone or has mobility issues, she may feel that it’s too much trouble to put up decorations on her own. Of course, this doesn’t mean she wouldn’t love to see her home dressed up for the holidays. This weekend, gather the family, get a tree and some decorations and help get mom’s home ready for the holidays.
Feeling ambitious? Your loved one may remember homemade decorations from when she was young. Pick up some craft books from the local library or search online to find some easy holiday crafts that you can make together. Remember to take photos to capture the memory.
Have a family game night.
The holidays can be a lonely time of year for everyone, but especially for older adults who may have lost a spouse or friends through the years. Make your loved ones feel included by inviting them into your home for a family evens, like game night.
Family game night might seem simple or mundane to you, but for someone who spends a lot of time at home alone, being around the energy of a family can really lift the spirits. Don’t enjoy playing games as a family? How about singing holiday songs, watching a holiday movie, or telling entertaining stories around the fire with some warm and comforting refreshments?
Go to a holiday concert or pageant.
There are so many fun concerts, plays, and pageants to attend around your local community this time of year. These events are often free or very inexpensive, so they are great ways to spend an evening with loved ones. Check event listings for local schools and colleges for ideas.
It is easy for those who have no mobility issues to take for granted having the ability to get dressed and rush out to events around town with little preparation or notice. But for many elderly individuals, even if they are looking forward to a fun event, when the big day comes, they may feel too tired, or unwell to get up and head out into wintery weather.
So, offering to pick up and drive an elderly neighbor to a community event is a great kindness. Knowing that a kind neighbor will knock on the door to pick them up at a certain time is a huge relief and good motivation to get out of the house.
Take a drive to see lights or holiday decorations.
Everyone loves seeing the twinkling, colorful lights all around town. Many seniors often miss out on this fun holiday tradition, though, especially if they no longer drive. Invite your loved ones to ride along with you as you drive through your community and neighborhoods. After your holiday light tour, stop off for a hot beverage and sweet treat.
Make sure your loved one’s home is safe.
In order for your loved ones to continue living safely and independently at home, it is imperative that their home is safe. Winter and the holiday season can be an especially dangerous time for elderly people living at home. Put everyone’s mind at ease by checking to make sure that both the interior and exterior of your loved one’s home is as safe as possible.
- Check for loose flooring, carpet, or rugs that could be tripping hazards.
- Make sure nightlights in hallways, bedrooms, and bathrooms are fully functional.
- Install secure grab bars in shower or bath areas and around toilets.
- Apply anti-slip strips to all stairs and check railings to make sure they are secure.
- Make sure that exterior lights on stairways and walkways are in proper working order.
- Offer to supply and sprinkle ice-melt on any surface where ice and snow accumulates.
For added precaution, PBE Help has easy-to-use products that help make your loved one’s home as safe as possible. Whether at home or out and about, with PBE’s devices your loved one has 24/7 access to emergency services.
This holiday season, forget the material and give special gifts that truly last. Let the elderly individuals in your life know how much you love and appreciate them.
Happy Holidays from your friends at PBE Help!
For more helpful tips for taking care of your elderly loved ones, follow me on social media (LinkedIn and Google+).