Including Mobility-Challenged Seniors in Holidays and Celebrations
How are you going to include seniors with mobility issues during the upcoming holidays?
How are you going to welcome and include the mobility-challenged seniors in your life during the upcoming holiday season? As the holidays are quickly approaching, you're likely thinking of gift purchases, traditional baking, office parties, and family celebrations. Have you thought about all of your family members, especially the ones who might require some extra care or effort?
If you have aging parents, grandparents, or extended family, how to include them in the special times is probably already on your mind. You want them to be involved, you cherish their company, and you hope they will enjoy the family visits as well.
But you also know that there are more challenges each year as these important people get older. Aging adults with disabilities or mobility issues, or conditions such as Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, or dementia can become isolated during the holidays.
How can we help aging and mobility-challenged seniors to feel welcome and physically comfortable during family gatherings and celebrations?
Considerations for Making Guests Comfortable
There are many things we can consider ahead of time to help our senior guests feel more comfortable in the space where we're celebrating together.
It's a small thing, but a room that is too hot or too cold can make a big difference in comfort and mobility for some seniors.
Consider keeping a slightly cooler room, and stashing a small supply of extra sweaters, light blankets, shawls, and thick socks or slippers conveniently nearby. This would be a great time to pull out old afghans and lap quilts, especially if you have some that are of sentimental value to the family.
Avoid frustration and embarrassment for your senior guests by thinking ahead of time about where they will sit at the family event. Being able to have them join you right where the action is happening will obviously lessen any isolation they might feel.
Will extra cushions be needed?
What about a swivel chair for ease of access to the table?
Perhaps even a special table is necessary.
Each individual will have different needs, and prepping in advance will help to ensure that these needs are met, and your senior guests are comfortable.
Bringing Families Together
Aging adults can feel isolated and separated, especially if they require extra help to be able to participate with others during family celebrations. To help alleviate this feeling, plan some activities that specifically include your senior guests.
Games: What are your grandparents' favourite games? Set out a card table that is easily accessible with games or a jigsaw puzzle that others can gather around with the senior.
Baking: Does Grandma still like to bake but isn't able because of her mobility issues? You can still involve her in the process of baking her favourite Christmas treats. Bring her into the kitchen with you and encourage her to help however she can from her seat at the bar or the table. Ask her about Christmases past and make this a time of connecting, too!
Caroling: Singing Carols together is often fun, as well. This can be done almost anywhere. Again, ask about the seniors' favourite songs and get them to include stories whenever possible.
These are just a few ideas. Think about your specific gathering and what might be appropriate. Not everything has to be designed around your older guests, but setting a few things up specifically for them to be included will help them to really feel involved.
It's worth the effort!
Our seniors still have so much to offer, and should be included in our holiday gatherings and celebrations as long as they are able. Mobility issues don't have to isolate them or exclude them from the party. You'll be glad they are involved, and they will be pleased to participate.
It's definitely worth the effort to put a few things in place ahead of time to include mobility-challenged seniors in our family and holiday celebrations.
I've shared just a few ideas here. What are other considerations or tips you can think of for helping to include our special aging adults in these types of events?