While many of us are spending the winter holidays apart from family and friends, there are still so many ways to make the season special and to connect with each other. This is even more important to the seniors in our lives, especially those that live in a care community. Coming up with creative ways to see our loved ones and spend time together even if not actually being with each other will be key to staying healthy, both physically and mentally, through the pandemic holidays.
Our gatherings may not be as large and our table spreads not as bountiful, but we can all still share what we are most thankful for and ensure the family holiday traditions are kept, while staying safe and healthy. If you normally celebrate with family and friends from many different households, 2020 will be the year to lean into your creative side to maintain traditions. Here are some ideas to get you started:
Thanksgiving with a twist
- If weather allows, move mealtime outdoors. Bring blankets, candles and portable heaters to the table and light a bonfire to stay warm.
- Play virtual B-I-N-G-O! A quick Internet search will lead you to game cards that can be downloaded and used for a fun time. Designate a number caller and use candy corn to mark your squares. Prizes can include an extra piece of pie or getting to skip out on doing the dishes!
- Cook a favorite menu item with a family member over Zoom or FaceTime.
December holidays reimagined
- Decorate your tree or home and share pictures of the final product with a senior loved one.
- Modern day technology will allow us to share a meal, even if not physically together. Consider delivering a special meal to your parents, then enjoy the meal together over FaceTime.
- Read a book to your grandkids!
- Open gifts together – virtually.
- Send trivia questions via email.
- Bake cookies with the grandkids and invite grandma to watch via FaceTime or Zoom.
Loved ones old and young will enjoy playing games together, even if it takes a bit more effort or planning to make it work. Pictionary, Scattergories, Cribbage, or charades are just a few to try. Various card games or trivia can be played virtually as well.
Our wonderful staff at The Preserve are interacting with the residents each day and finding new activities to keep their holiday spirit up. Whether it’s in our assisted living community, memory care wing, long-term care or skilled rehabilitation unit, we do our best to make the crafts, music and other activities holiday related & engaging. Follow along by connecting with us on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn to see what we are up to. We love to share pictures of the fun we’re having and encourage family and friends to leave a comment or simply say hello!
As we head into the holidays, it probably doesn’t look the way any of us hoped it would. Like many things this year, the focus is on switching to something smaller and closer to home, while still supporting those in your immediate community. True, online “experiences” are never the same compared to in person, but don’t let the pandemic stop your family traditions or special celebrations. Instead, get creative in the ways you are able to stay connected with family and friends, especially seniors, and together we will get through this crazy year and look forward to better days.