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Holiday Activities For Connecting With Seniors

Holiday get-togethers were meant to be inclusive! Creating a positive and open atmosphere is key when engaging seniors, especially those with cognitive impairments. As a family member or care provider, you may wonder which conversations and activities are best for learning more about your loved one this holiday. Or you may be intent on entertaining everyone and making new quality memories.

Specific questions about dates or years in holiday discussions may be difficult for people struggling with memory. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t have a chat about Christmases past. Keep the conversation lighthearted and start with yourself to make your loved one comfortable.

10 Lighthearted Conversation-Starters for Seniors This Holiday

Sit in a group as a family or another group setting and reminisce together. Conversation about the past can help build both neural and emotional connections. Sometimes, questions like these can prompt previously forgotten memories. Here's a list of 10 lighthearted reminiscing questions for holiday times like Christmas or New Year's:

  1. Warmest Holiday Memory: Talking about the past can be fun and help trigger memories. Ask your loved one, "Can you share a memory from a past Christmas or New Year's that always warms your heart? It could be about a special moment, a person, or a favorite dish."
  2. Festive Favorites: "What's your favorite holiday tradition? It could be something you did as a child or later in life."
  3. Holiday Music: "Do you have a favorite holiday song or carol? What memories does it bring back when you hear it?" Offer to play the song they mention.
  4. Magical Decorations: "Thinking about holiday decorations, is there a specific ornament or decoration that holds a special place in your heart? What's the story behind it?"
  5. Delicious Memories: "When it comes to holiday meals, what dish that you always looked forward to? What makes it so special to you?"
  6. Joyful Celebrations: "Can you recall a New Year's Eve celebration that was especially joyful? What made it stand out for you?"
  7. Holiday Travel Tales: "Have you ever traveled during the holidays? Whether it was a short trip or a long journey, what memories do you have from that experience?"
  8. Gifts and Surprises: "Thinking about gifts, can you share a memorable gift you received or gave during the holiday season? What made it memorable?"
  9. Winter Wonderland: "What do you enjoy most about the winter season? It could be a specific winter activity, the beauty of snow, or even cozy moments by the fireplace."
  10. Reflections on the Year: "As the year comes to an end, what reflections or thoughts come to mind? Is there something you're particularly proud of or grateful for from this year?"

Encourage your loved ones to share their stories and listen attentively. Creating a supportive and positive environment will enhance the experience for everyone involved and help start new memories.

Consider getting permission to record some of these stories for a digital photo album. Keeping these stories in your family will be an amazing treasure, a wonderful gift for the holiday season.

Other Ways To Involve Seniors In the Festivities

While most seniors won’t be having a lavish, huge meal like they did when they were younger, getting them involved in the festivities means more now than ever. Ask for help decorating the Christmas tree or with light tasks such as putting icing on cakes or cookies. Don’t just linger in front of the television during your get-together. Plan activities that all ages can enjoy!

Engaging seniors in light tasks during Christmas can bring a sense of purpose and joy. Consider activities that cater to varying abilities and interests. Here are some ideas:

  • Ornament Decorating: Provide plain ornaments and various decorating materials such as glitter, paint, and stickers. Seniors can create personalized ornaments to hang on a Christmas tree. Pair a child with a senior so they can spend time together.
  • Christmas Carol Sing-Along: Arrange a sing-along session with classic Christmas carols. You can provide lyric sheets or even do a short walk caroling in your neighborhood.
  • Holiday Movie Matinee: Host a screening of classic holiday movies. Ensure a comfortable viewing area with blankets and refreshments, allowing everyone to relax and enjoy the festive films.
  • Photos with Props: Purchase photo props for Christmas-themed photos together. Hats, candy canes, and other props can help keep everyone lighthearted. Involve everyone and let everyone choose different props and poses.
  • Puzzle Time: Set out holiday-themed puzzles to work on individually or as a group. Puzzles can range from simple jigsaw puzzles to word games with a festive twist.
  • Window Decorating: Provide window clings, removable stickers, or washable markers for seniors to decorate windows with festive designs. This activity allows them to engage with the holiday spirit without complex materials.
  • Hot Cocoa Social: Create a cozy space for a hot cocoa social. Ask for help setting up the station, stirring cocoa, and adding toppings like marshmallows or whipped cream.

When planning activities, be mindful of individual abilities and preferences. Some people have physical limitations or energy reserves to help out. Make sure that your activities are fun and mindful of everyone there. The emphasis should be on creating a positive and inclusive atmosphere where everyone can enjoy the holiday season in a way that suits their comfort level.

Learn About Present Moments Senior Living

Learn more about our assisted living and sober senior living programs. We’re here to help seniors live a comfortable, easygoing life according to their abilities and desires, with minimal stress. Contact us at 442-232-2824 to learn more about our services and amenities, including memory care services and medication management.

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Mark Gladden
Driven by a desire to enable seniors to age gracefully in a place they can call home, Mark founded Present Moments Senior Living. From programming activities to hiring capable staff to overseeing day-to-day operations, Mark strives to make Present Moments a nurturing environment where residents can live meaningfully.