Bells are ringing, children are singing and Santa’s on his way! It’s that time of year when the air is alive with joy and excitement for the Christmas holiday and other seasonal celebrations. For some seniors, this holiday may look a bit different from years past. There may be emerging health issues, a change in environment, a loss of a loved one, or any other challenge that makes it difficult to feel as merry as one might like. For others, there may be gleeful anticipation for embracing all the season has to offer.
Whatever you or the senior in your life is feeling this month, we want to help infuse some cheer—with the following senior-friendly activities that are sure to engage the mind and soul.
Gift Basket Building
’Tis the season of giving—and giving’s always best when it comes from the heart. For lots of seniors, it can be difficult to find just the right presents for the special people in their lives. Plus, fighting store crowds and navigating online sales can be a real challenge. That’s why this senior-friendly activity hits all the holiday notes: designing and stocking your own custom-made holiday gift baskets.
Rest assured, this doesn’t have to be an expensive endeavor if you put your creative thinking cap on. Brainstorm some themed baskets based on each recipient’s unique tastes—from movie-themed items like favorite snacks and a theater gift card to a spa-based basket with a variety of simple pampering products, there’s a trove of opportunities to customize gorgeous gift baskets for the loved ones in your life.
Light Display Touring
Twinkling lights abound during the holiday season, and there’s so much beauty to be experienced in the displays around town. Seniors who love to see holiday lights can give these displays more than just a passing glance by planning a light-touring outing. If you have the capabilities to drive, map out a route for seeing the sights in all their lit-up glory. If driving is no longer an option, consider asking a loved one or friend to lead this mobile event.
Take time to do a little research beforehand and find out where some of the best light-viewing displays are located. There may even be ticketed events or places where a walk-through is welcomed. This can be a fun group activity for seniors and their loved ones to embrace the brightness of the holiday season.
The practice of giving of one’s time and talents does wonders to reinforce a senior’s connection to their sense of purpose, and there’s no time like the holidays to partake in some selfless action. Especially around Christmas time, there’s no shortage of ways to engage in activities that benefit a good cause. Consider participating in food drives and fundraising activities, opting in to assist with children’s events, spending time at non-profits where an interpersonal connection is needed or simply catering to the ill.
Volunteering is a wonderful avenue for overcoming the potential for seniors to feel useless in this stage of life. For some, it may amount to cooking for a shelter, knitting or sewing for the needy, or visiting the sick. The specific task is not nearly as important as the rewarding feelings of purpose and satisfaction. It’s a perfect way to bring extra meaning to this holiday season.
Gingerbread House Decorating
Something about the smell of gingerbread brings such warmth to the season, and making gingerbread houses is a long-adored holiday activity that’s perfect for seniors of all capabilities. If you like to bake and have the capabilities, consider cooking up some fresh gingerbread for this sweet enterprise. Otherwise, there are ready-made gingerbread products (or even graham crackers) and easy kits to help simplify the prep work.
There are plenty of free gingerbread house templates available online, as well as tips and tricks for making your display a delightfully delectable one. If you need assistance, or simply wish to partake in this fun holiday activity with others, plan a group gathering for your gingerbread house event. Use your imagination to turn icing flavors and colorful candy decor into a merry masterpiece.
Holiday Wreath Making
One surefire way to lift a senior’s spirits this time of year is with festive decor that brings the joy of the holidays to the forefront. Making holiday wreaths is a yuletide activity that seniors can enjoy with friends and loved ones or on their own. From fresh or artificial greens to poinsettias, fabrics, bells and odd adornments like popped corks, there are so many ways to get crafty with holiday wreath making.
This Chalky Pine Cone DIY Christmas Wreath, for example, is a unique way to spruce up your home and have some fun in the process. It’s also a creative reason to get outside for fresh air and physical activity as you collect the pine cones needed for this craft. So put on some Christmas tunes and get to work on this senior-friendly holiday activity that’ll have you decking the halls in no time.
At UMH senior living communities, we spend a lot of the holiday season decorating, crafting and transforming our communities into winter wonderlands. Be sure to visit one of our various senior living locations to see what our residents are up to and which holiday crafts they’ve been working on.
To find out how United Methodist Homes provides a wealth of offerings and opportunities to support the health and well-being of our residents, contact us today or schedule a complimentary visit now. For additional tips on senior health and lifestyle issues, check out our blog.