We’ve entered the most magical time of year, full of several big holidays that many people look forward to for months—if not all year long. Holidays may start to feel a little different as individuals age. The holidays may change as adults get older, but that doesn’t mean that they can’t still find ways to enjoy them. Many older adults feel lonely during the holiday season. They may no longer live in the same home they raised a family in; their spouse may have passed, and their children may celebrate with their own families. It can feel like a reminder of all the people they’ve lost. When there’s a lot of pressure to be happy and joyous, the holidays can begin to feel like a burden. To make the most of the season for older adults, try some of these ideas.
Bring the Get-Together to Them
If your loved one is unable to travel for the holidays, bring the party to them—decorations and food included. If they don’t have enough space for the whole gang, consider renting out the community room or at the very least, bringing them leftovers.
Is there a specific tradition your loved one used to practice every Thanksgiving or Christmas? Whether it’s listening to specific music or making a traditional dish, be sure they can indulge in their favorite tradition.
They may have recently downsized and moved into a smaller home or apartment, but that doesn’t mean they can’t decorate. If they don’t have the space for a large, live tree, put up a small tabletop tree. Have their grandchildren help make decorations for a fun craft project they can do together, too. Be sure if there are any treasured holiday decorations, you put those front and center. Play holiday music while you decorate and talk about past holiday memories or the meaning behind each ornament.
Offer a Helping Hand
They may not be able to go shopping for the holidays themselves. Offer to go with them, or assist with online shopping. You can offer to help with writing out addresses for holiday cards too.
More important than anything, you should ask your loved one what they enjoy most about the holidays. Try to do a few of the things they love. It might be something as simple as talking about their favorite holiday memories.