OMAHA, Neb. (PRWEB) December 08, 2020
'Tis the season to deck the halls, gather around the tree and enjoy quality time together. But, with the ongoing threat of COVID-19, this year’s holiday season may take on a vastly different feel for older adults everywhere. Instead of festive sights, sounds and smells, seniors isolating at home may experience heightened feelings of loneliness and depression.
Connecting with family and creating meaningful memories during the holidays can be important for older adults. According to a report by the University of Michigan National Poll on Healthy Aging (NPHA), more than half of older adults (56%) reported feeling isolated from others in June 2020, more than doubling (27%) in just two years.
“There’s no doubt this holiday season will be unlike any other,” said Lakelyn Hogan, gerontologist and caregiver advocate at Home Instead. “But the pandemic doesn’t need to steal the holiday cheer from older adults. With a little creativity and intentionality, you can still find ways to safely include aging friends and family in festivities — or even start a new tradition — and remind them you care.”
While distance may separate you from those you love, you can make it a special, festive time of year for older adults by giving a unique gift or creating a new memory. Hogan recommends the following gifts for seniors on your holiday list:
- Gifts to look forward to. The holidays are all about spending time with one another. While in-person celebrations might not be possible for everyone this year, there are virtual options to continue creating memories. For example, if your loved one is a beer or wine enthusiast, book a private virtual tasting through online vineyards. If they’re in need of a good laugh, book tickets to an online comedy show. If they’re looking for fun ways to stay active at home, consider signing them up for a virtual fitness program designed for older adults.
- Nostalgic or sentimental gifts. Custom mementos — such as scrapbooks, photo phone cases or a digitized home movie — can prompt seniors to reminisce and share stories of years gone by. Or, express your love through words by inviting friends or family to fill an album or shadow box with short notes or letters. Share an uplifting message or recount an experience from his or her life.
- Practical gifts. A gift doesn’t need to be large and expensive to be meaningful — a blanket, socks or gift cards are among the most popular items on seniors’ wish lists. A voucher to a favorite restaurant or meal delivery service can be the perfect gift for those who might want a night off from cooking.
- Gifts to pass the time. Books, jigsaw and crossword puzzles can serve as a great source of entertainment, keep the mind active and prevent boredom, especially if a senior is stuck at home during the winter. Consider purchasing a monthly subscription box to deliver a surprise to their doorstep every month. There are countless options and themes available, from cooking to books to candles to gardening.
- The gift of a new holiday tradition. The decision to celebrate virtually or socially distanced will be personal and influenced by a confluence of factors — such as local regulations and preexisting health conditions of your attendees. If an older adult can’t celebrate in person, adapt your favorite holiday traditions to keep them connected. Send a few special ornaments or a sachet of fragrant-dried balsam pine needles so they can enjoy the Christmas tree smell. Or, decorate their doorstep with holiday wreaths, garlands, strings of lights and battery-powered candles.
As you wrap up holiday shopping, it’s important to acknowledge that celebrations will likely be different this year because of the pandemic. Gift yourself time and space to grieve this reality — and then, let go of past expectations and comparisons you’ve held onto. By reminding yourself of the true reasons you celebrate, you can navigate this season with hope, peace and joy.
For more gift suggestions, ideas for celebrations and a holiday checklist to keep your loved one healthy and safe during the pandemic, visit http://www.caregiverstress.com/senior-activities/holidays/.
ABOUT HOME INSTEAD
Founded in 1994 in Omaha, Nebraska, the Home Instead® franchise network provides personalized care, support and education to enhance the lives of aging adults and their families. Today, the network is the world's leading provider of in-home care services for older adults, with more than 1,200 independently owned and operated franchises that provide more than 80 million hours of care annually throughout the United States and 13 other countries. Local Home Instead offices employ approximately 90,000 CAREGivers℠ worldwide who provide basic support services that enable older adults to live safely and comfortably in their own homes for as long as possible. Home Instead franchise owners partner with clients and their family members to help meet varied individual needs. Services span the care continuum – from providing personal care to specialized Alzheimer’s care and hospice support. Also available are family caregiver education and support resources. Visit HomeInstead.com. Connect with us on Facebook and Twitter.