Families celebrate Easter in different and exciting ways—Easter Egg Hunts, bountiful feasts, and even crafts making. However, there are family members that we should always, always take into consideration as we make our preparations: our aging parents.
The lives of our aging parents can be quite stressful. There are always big decisions to make, from long term care insurance coverage options to care facility choices, and challenges at every turn. While the majority of older adults are not depressed, a substantial number in their ranks still develop the mental condition. And we all know that depression is a major risk factor for suicide.
This is why adult children and family caregivers ought to make holidays and occasions extra special. After all, the time with the family can be the much-needed energy boost that older individuals need to bounce back from the daily stresses of aging care. So as we all gear up to celebrate Easter, let us all take the extra mile for our aging loved ones.
In our last roundup entitled, Monthly Digest: Analyzing the Appeal of Aging in Place, we talked about the benefits of Aging in Place. For this month’s roundup, we have gathered tips and tricks from the industry experts. Here are 15 ways in which you and your family members can make the festivities extra special for our beloved aging parents!
Celebrate Easter through Safe and Fun Activities
Being with family during any holiday provides a chance to catch up, renew relationships, and have fun. Activities for older adults do not have be dull. Think of activities with a new lens. Challenge your creativity by singing karaoke together. Engage socially by finding local meetups that share your interests and that of your family. Participate in a charity walk together or volunteer at a local organization. Activities like this will keep you engaged, benefit your mind, and take your relationship with loved ones to a deeper level.
—Anthony Cirillo, The Aging Experience
Do a simple floral arrangement together. Professional background is not required! Just bring mason jars and vases, some beautiful fresh flowers, baby’s breath, greens, and other favorite “fillers,” and ribbon in bright spring colors to tie around the vases or jars. When you’re finished with the arrangements, bring them to neighbors (at home or in assisted living) or give them as gifts to the senior living staff or a home care worker.
—Michelle Seitzer, Michelle Seitzer
For many families, Easter is as much about spending time with family as it is a religious holiday. Including aging loved ones in the celebration is a great way to encourage them to pass down family traditions to the younger generations. While an aging grandmother may not be able to cook the feast she did in the past, she can share her recipes with her family members and everyone can share in the meal. If your family has traditions that are no longer easy for an aging relative to engage in, alter the tradition to meet their abilities. It is more important to spend time together than to do things exactly the way they were done in the past.
—Kathy Macaraeg, Caregiving for Parents Made Easy
Dye Easter eggs. No Easter party would be complete without coloring Easter eggs. This is our favorite of the Easter activities. Encourage your residents to enjoy this inter-generational activity as they assist their grandkids with dying Easter eggs for the kids to take home.
—Not Just Bingo, The S&S Worldwide Blog
It doesn’t take a lot of complicated ideas to come up with good Easter party ideas and games for seniors. As long as it makes them happy, brings some laughter or smiles, makes them feel good about themselves, help them find new friends and companions or enjoy old ones, serve some nibblies and beverage to keep them satiated; nice and easy does it. Too often we feel we must go overboard and this can lead to disappointing outcomes. Remember why you are all there.
—Seniors Live It Up, SeniorsLiveItUp.com
Organize an Easter parade. Gather the seniors and have them decorate their hats or bonnets with flowers, trinkets, and other ornaments and invite them to participate in an Easter Parade! Contact their friends and family members to watch them parade in their Sunday best, wearing the Easter bonnets they created. It will be such a fun event!
—Michelle Gonzalez, Live Your Retirement
There are numerous simple but meaningful gestures that seniors will appreciate for the Easter season. Consider buying your elderly loved one an Easter lily as a gift to put in their window. This flower symbolizes hope and life and is connected to the Easter festival. In addition, you can give seeds, or plant flowers with your loved one to mark the beginning of spring or go on a bird watching field trip. Candles can be lit as symbols of new life and rebirth as well.
—Generations Center for Senior Living, Generations Center for Senior Living
Good Friday and Easter Sunday services are usually offered at various times throughout the day. Some seniors enjoy going to church, hearing the sermon, and singing the hymns. This activity can help older adults with Parkinson’s forget about their physical limitations for a while and enjoy meeting and greeting others.
—Ted Holmgren, Home Care Assistance
Gift Ideas For Aging Parents This Easter
I will share our post with you that deals with Easter baskets for seniors, it includes a list of items that would be great to put into a basket just for them:
My answer would be pack an Easter Basket specially made for your senior tapping into long ago memories of their favorite candy, treats, music, family photos, handmade cards, items they use like lip balm and mementos they will appreciate that shows how much you think of them and love them. Knowing them and what they would love to own will bring a smile to their face as the memories of their own childhood flood back.
—Kathy Birkett, Senior Care Corner
If the person you love can’t get out much, or doesn’t have friends or family close by, loneliness can be a serious problem. Luckily, there are lots of gifts that can help!
E-tablets are expensive, but again, they can be outstanding group gifts if you can show the person how to use it. If one of the kids can teach them how to play the latest game on it, even better! Despite what they say about old dogs not learning new tricks, lots of senior citizens can get the hang of texting or popular word games, which can keep them connected. And with services like Skype or FaceTime, they can stay connected to you with video calls and chats.
—Stacey Donovan, Hallmark
Make a simple centerpiece. So many elderly activities can involve parties, get-togethers, public events, clubs, and the like, so making a nice centerpiece can be done [every] year. [These are] great for giveaways, raffles, silent auctions, etc. Helping to make centerpieces can be a very fulfilling project.
—Elder One Stop, Elder One Stop
Don’t forget the simple things or feel you must buy something more elaborate. Think of items like boxes of a preferred brand of tissues, lipstick, Vaseline, lotion, toiletries, household items, a nice new set of sheets or a holiday pin.
—Aging Wisely, Aging Wisely
Here are some gift ideas you could consider buying:
- Jewelry that one can wear in gatherings, church, and other social places
- New floral perfume
- A hat and a warm coat
- Special chocolate bunny
- Easter Cards
- Personal items such as sunscreen, glass cleaning cloth, hearing aid batteries, etc.
—Milton Council, Health Council Clinic
Bring a little lunch or snack (“nothing big,” I’m told) to share while you talk (consider dietary restrictions if known).
—Susan, Help! Aging Parents
For someone in a nursing home, visits from loved ones are occasions to be treasured. Help them remember their joy by purchasing a bulletin board and an easy-to-use instant camera, such as a Polaroid Instant Camera.
Choose a few snapshots of grandchildren and close friends to arrange on the board. When he or she receives a visitor, the patient can ask someone to take a photo of the two of them to place on the board. As time passes, the bulletin board will become a visual memory trove, and a reminder that people care.
—Joanne Eglash, Money Crashers
Growing older should not mean becoming lonely and isolated, as well. Often, children growing up and dealing with life’s stresses forget that their parents are also aging. This is why we should all take advantage of special holiday and celebrations such as Easter. Remember that this is not just the celebration for the younger generations. Be sure to include older individuals in the festivities and take into consideration capabilities and any of their limitations. It does not have to be a big party or a grand celebration for it to be memorable. It is really quite simple for many older individuals. Often, it is the company and the memories that they create that they create are all that matter.
Also, remember that our aging parents deserve all the love and care in the world, and not just during holidays and special occasions. We must take the necessary precautions to keep them secured and healthy. From long term care costs that plague the older generations to the various cases of abuse, we must be proactive in keeping them well protected. This is why individuals, adult children and aging parents, are advised to secure long term as early as they can. If your parents are still not covered by a long term care insurance policy, then take this opportunity to help them find the protection that they deserve.