The holidays are a time for family members of all ages to gather and celebrate, including seniors. But holiday celebrations in many households will look a little different again this year due to the ongoing COVID-19 threat. Socialization is important for older adults any time of year, and especially during the holidays. Since COVID-19 is more dangerous for the elderly, you’ll need to find safe ways for seniors to join in the holiday season festivities. What follows are five fun ideas for older adults who will be participating from a distance. 

How Socialization Benefits Seniors

Research indicates that older adults with more fulfilling social lives tend to avoid many of the physical, emotional, and cognitive challenges that socially isolated seniors experience.

Socialization benefits seniors in these ways:

  • Reduces stress – Older adults who are socially active tend to handle stress better, which improves cardiovascular and immune system health.
  • Lower risk for depression – Social isolation and loneliness can cause or worsen depression, while socialization promotes higher self-esteem and a sense of worth.
  • Less anxiety – Seniors who are socially engaged are at lower risk for feeling anxious.
  • Cognitive health – Socializing year-round helps keep seniors mentally sharp, stimulated, and intellectually engaged, all of which can boost cognitive health.
  • Longer lifespan – Positive social interactions on a consistent basis may also increase one’s longevity.

5 Safe Ways for Seniors to Celebrate the Holiday Season This Year

Whether your older family members live close by or not, using these five distance-celebrating tips will help make the holidays feel more traditional for everyone:

Video chats

If your aging loved ones are tech-savvy, use video chat services like Zoom, Skype, Google Hangouts, or Facetime to stay connected during the holidays. Have your kids ask their elderly relatives questions about how they celebrated holidays growing up. What was their favorite gift as a child? What are their fondest holiday memories?

Ask your parents to read their grandchildren a holiday story or use the online time to share family baking recipes. You can also record video messages by using an app like Marco Polo, which can be watched later by all when convenient.

Exchange holiday ornaments

Ask family members of all ages to make homemade ornaments, and then schedule a time to exchange your holiday creations from a safe distance. Hang the decorations on your Christmas tree or in the window, take pictures, and then share them on social media.

Mail greeting cards

Even in this high-tech age, people still enjoy receiving greeting cards in the mail. Ask your kids to make their grandparents homemade holiday cards, or use preprinted cards filled with handwritten messages. Mailing cards with inspirational messages will boost the holiday spirits of those special seniors in your life.

Distance caroling

Drive over to your elderly parents’ home with the family and sing them some of their favorite holiday carols while standing on the driveway. Invite mom and dad to join in the singing and then do some “distance caroling” at the homes of other elderly friends and neighbors.

Drive-by celebrations

In addition to the social aspects, holidays are all about exchanging gifts. Do a drive-by celebration and gift swap during which everyone follows social distancing guidelines. Then, open your gifts while video chatting to feel more like being together in the same room.

If your senior isn’t set up for video chats, call them on the phone while the kids are opening their presents and place everyone on speaker so that they can share in the excitement!

We Can Help Make This Holiday Season More Special and Safe for Seniors in Virginia

Feeling isolated and lonely because of social distancing restrictions is no way for your aging loved one to spend the holidays. Finding a suitable companion caregiver isn’t always easy when you’ve never done it before. At AmeriCare Plus, we are a family-owned senior care business that’s been assisting clients and their families in Virginia for over 26 years now. Spearheaded by Team Teal, we offer our clients care, compassion, and security in the comfort of their own home.

As a premier home care provider, our highly trained professionals can deliver in-home companion care services, including hourly personal care, live-in companion care, bed and bath assistance, holiday assistance, and even pet assistance. With ten convenient locations across Virginia, we are one big family taking care of your family. To learn more about AmeriCare Plus now or schedule an initial consultation for a senior in our service area, please visit us today at www.americarepluspc.com.

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