5 ways to involve your ageing relatives in the holiday cheer

The Lunar festive season is upon us. Although an exuberant time for one and all, the elderly in our lives might not accommodate as well to the holiday season as us, due to physical or mental limitations. Find out how you can ensure their comfort while encouraging them to be an active part of the celebration.

Holidays call for togetherness. The happy occasion gives a chance for all family members to relentlessly plan, prepare and progress ahead.  Despite this, our beloved seniors might need more consideration and care as the holidays could be a tough period for them. A recollection of past memories which cannot be brought back to life, coupled with the blues that stem from the irrevocable losses they have faced in life, the festival could exacerbate feelings of sadness and loneliness that plague old-age.

Shopping and visiting near and dear ones make for the typical holiday experience, but  health constraints such as less energy and the inability to walk long distances could break that spirit, which makes seniors more apathetic towards festivities.

We have curated some tips on how you can help the elderly in your life feel more included in the celebrations:

1) Let them contribute to the decision-making process

From the kind of decorations to purchase to the guestlist you want to invite over, this holiday includes intense planning and decision-making. Ask them to help you out in these matters and trust their gut! Seeking advice will make  them feel valued and provide a confidence boost (and you, a helping hand). Afterall, seniors have years of experience. 

Photo by Dylan Gillis

2) Plan a day-out

Bustling bazaars, lit-up streets and the commotion building up to the big festival echo the excitement of the coming year. If health allows, take the elderly out for a shopping spree or a drive through the marketplace to make them experience those festive vibes. This may ignite their eagerness to participate in holiday activities and put them in the right frame of mind to celebrate.

3) Engage in light activities

Playing light games with the elderly is likely to cheer them up and savour the precious moments with their children or caregiver. Watch their favourite holiday movies with them and have fun playing games such as mahjong, jigsaw puzzles and checkers. Or maybe do something such as cooking a specific dish for the holiday. To add on, give them the floor for storytelling. The elderly love to share their wisdom and experiences of the good old days. All of this is instrumental in reminding the seniors of the holiday traditions while actively bonding with the family.

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4) Offer positive affirmations 

Affirmative words hold the power to alter one’s negative perspective. They are sometimes even more significant when said by the people we love and value. Statements such as “you are strong,” “you have the power to control your own feelings,” “we are always here to love and support you,” can show your ageing loved ones that you unconditionally support them. The positive words will motivate the seniors to be more enthusiastic and feel blessed during the holidays.

5) Don’t force anything

While the above points would help the elderly to get into the holiday mood, we must keep in mind that everything should flow naturally. Forcing them into activities or decisions would most likely put them off or even make them feel irritable. That’s the last thing you want. Be patient with them, understand why they feel uninterested or reluctant, take baby steps, and do not make them do anything out of their will. Be open to their ideas of fun. If they are not comfortable being a part of large gatherings, respect their decision and try to tailor your plans according to their needs.