Help Seniors Prepare for the Holidays

By Elizabeth Thielke / Posted on 14 December 2009

grandparents and presentsThe holidays are approaching fast, and although it is a time of joy, holidays can be stressful, as well. If you have a senior citizen in your life, don’t forget that they may have holiday-related things to do, but sometimes tasks that may be easy for you are harder for them.

What are some things you can do to help a senior feel involved and get ready for the holidays?

1. Plan holiday dinners together. Sit down and discuss the menu, decorations, etc. Perhaps your loved one just needs a ride to the store and a little assistance getting the groceries inside and they can prepare a delicious meal for the family from there.

Other people may still like to participate, but they cant prepare an entire meal. Consider having them make a special appetizer or one part of the meal. For Thanksgiving, my mother always cooked the turkey and brought it to my house and I hosted and took care of the rest of the meal.

2. Help your loved one decorate.. Sometimes, older people may choose not to decorate for the holidays because they feel it’s too much trouble, or because they don’t plan on hosting festivities at their house.

Make sure they’re not opting out of decorating because they can’t do it themselves.

Offer to put the lights outside or put up a Christmas tree. Consider a small, table top tree that can be easily decorated and don’t forget the lights! Be sure to plan some time to help them take the tree down after Christmas.

3. Invite a senior to bake with you. They can bring favorite recipes to share and everyone can have something to take home or to give as gifts. There are lots of ways people can help in the kitchen, even if they have conditions that limit their abilities.

4. Take a senior shopping with you. Most people have holiday shopping they need to complete, plan a day out with the senior in your life. Allow plenty of time to get around, and everyone can enjoy the gift of time. Treat them to a nice lunch while you’re out since many seniors have limited incomes.

If your loved one up to shopping, help them make a list of things they need, and offer to pick them up and wrap them.

5. Offer to do other odd jobs around the house. People are often out of school and off work during the holidays. This might be a good time to help a senior get some things checked off their “to-do” list as they prepare for company or to start a new year.

We have an older friend who had a shoulder injury. Her family lives out of town, so my older kids go to her house and get some miscellaneous things done for her. Not only do they enjoy helping her, they can also count that time toward their needed service hours for school.

Seniors can often use help throughout the year, but the holidays can be especially busy for everyone. Be sure to take some time to make sure your loved one is able to get ready for the holidays, too.

- Elizabeth Thielke


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