Reflections on Aging Well

Author, Living with Purpose in a Worn-out Body: Spiritual Encouragement for Older Adults (Upper Room) and Columnist, Aging Well, United Methodist Reporter

Tips for helping older adults have a Merry Christmas December 7, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — missybu @ 8:46 am

Tip #1   Create and send personalized Christmas cards using photo taken of older adult in holiday attire. Be sure to include return address to make it easy for friends and family to send cards in return.

Tip #2   Ask family members to write about favorite memories of older loved one. Make a keepsake booklet.

Tip #3   Decorate a small tree using the older person’s memorabilia and old photos.

Tip #4   Take them on a tour of their old neighborhoods to see holiday lights.  If mobility is an issue, ask old friends and neighbors to come out to the car for a quick greeting (thanks to cell phones).

Tip #5   Invite them to write the prayer for a family dinner/ worship service. Provide copies of the prayer to all to read together.

Tip #6   For bedridden elderly, light a tree outside where she can see it from her bed or chair.  Use an auto-timer.

Tip #7   Take time during a family celebration to watch old 8mm movies of past Christmases.

Tip #8   Feature grandmother’s dessert dishes or some family heirloom as a way to honor older loved ones.

Tip #9   Ask older adults to share stories of what Christmas was like when they were young.  Be respectful.  Listen.

Tip #10   Organize a group of senior care residents to go caroling to their neighbors in the care center.  Pass out jingle bells for all to enjoy.

Tip #11   Use old family photos to create personalized gift tags.

Tip #12   Organize an All-Senior-Adult Living Nativity scene for your church, senior center or community.

Tip #13   Give a gift of music that older adults at a senior center can enjoy.  Hire a harpist or ask a choral ensemble to provide holiday tunes during lunch.

Tip #14   Invite older adults to help prepare for a family celebration in some way: folding napkins, polishing silver, etc.

Tip #15   Rent old holiday TV specials— Andy Williams, Bob Hope, etc.— and set up the DVD player for older loved ones to enjoy.

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4 Responses to “Tips for helping older adults have a Merry Christmas”

  1. Renee in MN Says:

    Hi Missy! Merry Christmas! I love this list! Thank you for creating and sharing. What are your further thoughts/ideas on implementing the living nativity? Outside/inside? during a worship service? silent vs. theatrical? I like the idea but am curious how you would implement….

    • missybu Says:

      Actually, I am helping organize an All-Older-Adult Living Nativity at an assisted living center this year. But there will be older adults from another facility who will also participate. We are having it inside… an older adult will narrate. Older adults will move into place, pushing their walkers or being pushed in wheelchairs, at the appropriate time. Borrowing costumes from a church’s nativity. A senior adult choir will end with musical selections. Generally speaking, it will be a brief tableau with limited movement but great meaning. The community is invited. Reception will follow.

      • Renee in MN Says:

        Very cool! Too late for me to do this year but will definitely keep in mind for next year! Thanks!

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