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December 27, 2018

How to Celebrate the New Year, Senior Style

If you’re spending time with your elderly parents for the New Year holiday, make sure your plans are senior appropriate. Here are some suggestions for a New Year’s celebration that all ages can enjoy together. Choose your plans with an eye toward relaxed holiday fun for seniors, avoiding anything that creates stress for senior loved ones. Think of this as a time to relax, bond, share past memories and make new ones.

Sing in the New Year

Watch a movie musical and sing along, create a list of songs in iTunes or video playlist on YouTube. Sample one of the karaoke channels, with words on-screen so you can easily sing along! If you’re somewhat tech savvy, Google “online karaoke” for apps that allow you to record and playback your karaoke performances on your PC/Mac laptop or your phone.

Cook (or Eat Out)

Plan to make a holiday meal favorite that your family has always enjoyed, or one that’s traditional in your community. Make things simpler by pre-shopping for ingredients, asking your parent for suggestions. Keep your senior loved one involved by giving them a meal prep role, appropriate for their level of functioning and preference.

To involve grandkids, consider making cookies together. Let kids and grandparents cut shapes from the batter and add holiday decorations on top.  If you want to get out of the house for New Year’s Eve, consider going out to eat but be sure to reserve in advance as the night is sure to be busy. Schedule meals early in the day or early evening, when seniors are most energetic. Include dressing up for the New Year festivities, if your senior enjoys this.

Reminisce on Milestones

Start a discussion about significant event(s) your parents have enjoyed or achievements they’ve accomplished. Ask about aspects you’ve always wondered about, or go over memories together. Look at home movies, photographs or mementos as you talk.

Craft Silly Party Hats

This is a great multi-generation activity. Have elderly parents help the little ones decorate hats, or kids can help their senior parents. Paper plates may act as brims or create cone-shaped hats with lightweight cardstock or colored papers. Draw, add stickers, or glue ribbons and glitter on hats to create that New Year’s party look. Adult coloring has become popular in recent years, so you could create more sophisticated, artistic hats if you prefer, using colored pencils or artist’s markers in a variety of shades.

If hats aren’t your thing, consider creating another New Year’s art-and-craft project together. Does your senior relative know how to knit or crochet? Ask them to teach you or your kids some basics—and make a knit hat or socks. You don’t have to finish projects that day. Family members can send each other photos of the results in the coming weeks.

Make Simple, Positive Resolutions

Appreciating small moments has never been more important—for all of us. Instead of making New Year resolutions that you might feel guilty about not achieving, resolve to “stop and smell the roses.”

Pledge to each other that you will: spend time in nature daily, set up a hummingbird feeder, start a garden, practice a favorite craft, eat a piece of dark chocolate daily, or write down something you’re grateful for. Pick one or two things, that are small and simple as well as life-affirming and fulfilling. Choose an activity based on the senior’s level of health and activity  Check in with each other throughout the coming year, to see how you’re all doing on your self-nurturing pledges.

For expert assistance with senior care, any time of year, contact A Place at Home senior care in Omaha. We are ready to help today.