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Family Holiday Activities for Seniors in Assisted Living

family baking together

It’s not just children who enjoy the holidays. Old and young alike take pleasure in the mouthwatering meals, cheerful decorations, time-honored traditions and the feelings of belonging and togetherness the holidays inspire. But if your parent is in assisted living, you may wonder how to include them in the holiday magic. Our list of holiday activities for seniors offers fresh ideas to help you make the season festive and joyful for your loved one.

Bake Holiday Treats Together

Holiday cookies are a treasured tradition in many families. Make sure your loved one gets in on the fun by hosting a cookie-baking get-together. Whether you bake from a tattered recipe card handed down for generations or from the latest online recipes, older adults, children and everyone in between can take part in mixing, decorating and eating the sweet treats you create. And after a day’s baking, your loved one will have a tin of cookies to take home for tasty seasonal snacking, or to share with friends and staff in their senior living community.

Host a Holiday Card Party

A card-writing party, that is. Inviting your loved one and other family members to participate in this typically solitary task will make it more fun for all of you. Gather supplies and let everyone contribute by adding a sticker, a doodle, a postage stamp or a personal note. For added pizzazz — and to help you get into the spirit of the season — serve some of your recently baked cookies and play holiday music while you set to work reviving the lost art of letter writing.

Write a Family Story Book

As you spend time with your loved one, ask them about their cherished holiday memories. Interview other family members as well. You can gather your family’s unique collection of holiday stories into a book, illustrating it with children’s drawings or family photos. Look for affordable self-publishing options and you’ll have created a family heirloom that everyone in the family can treasure for years to come.  

Go out on the Town

Parades, tree-lighting ceremonies and performances of timeless classics like “The Nutcracker” are fun holiday activities for seniors and their families. Even a pleasant evening drive to see the holiday lights in your area can instill a sense of wonder and magic while giving your loved one a change of scene.

Create Holiday Crafts and Gifts

Crafting is another fun holiday activity that the entire family can enjoy together. Try making mini wreath ornaments, larger wreaths from pre-made bows, or a pompom garland. Handmade items are perfect for decorating your loved one’s assisted living apartment and for giving away to friends and family. Plus, crafting offers health benefits — it’s associated with a decreased risk of mild cognitive impairment and can help older adults maintain their fine motor skills.

Bring All the Trimmings

If your loved one misses decorating their house for the holidays, bring the tinsel and twinkle lights to their new home. You can easily find Christmas trees and other seasonal decorations that fit your loved one’s living space. Turn on some holiday music, serve treats and you have the makings for another festive, memory-making gathering with loved ones.  

Play a Photo Guessing Game

You probably have decades’ worth of holiday photos. Looking through them will make you and your family laugh — maybe cringe — and inspire memories.  Display the photos in your loved one’s living space, or put them in an album. You might even make a game out of them, inviting family members to guess what year each photo was taken.

Gather for Gift Wrapping

Once the shopping is done, the work has only just begun. Thankfully, you can turn the chore of wrapping gifts into a more festive and enjoyable affair. Convert the dining room table to a gift-wrapping station, serve seasonal refreshments, turn on some holiday tunes — or movies — and gather the gang for a fun-filled day.

Celebrating Everyday Living

At Parkwood, we know the holidays play an important role in our residents’ lives, and at this time of year we love infusing our daily events and activities with holiday cheer. But we also believe in celebrating the joy in every day. Here, residents in our assisted living community get the help they need so they can enjoy as much independence as possible and make the most of every day. Contact us to learn more about our assisted living community or to plan your visit.