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How to Include Long-Distance Aging Loved Ones in Holiday Celebrations

The holidays are a time for family, but sometimes families are unable to get together physically. That doesn’t mean they can’t enjoy wonderful holiday celebrations from a distance! When visiting each other in person isn’t possible, there are still many ways to make new memories with your loved ones – despite the distance.

Here are some of our suggestions for how you can help your family celebrate the holidays together, no matter how far apart you may be. With some creativity and the help of technology, “home for the holidays” can be anywhere you make it.

Schedule Video Calls

Video chatting is easier than ever in 2022, and it doesn’t take long to set up a call or to show your aging loved one how to navigate the platform on their own.

With all the different free virtual call platforms, you can connect with family members through various platforms, including FaceTime, Google Meet, Facebook Messenger, and Zoom. And you aren’t limited to just chatting, either! You can use stream-sharing services, such as teleparty, to watch a holiday movie together or video calling technology to share a virtual dinner.

Consider arranging a video chat on the actual holiday to be with one another as you open gifts, share in the true holiday spirit, and keep up with family traditions such as playing family games like charades.

Send Heartfelt Holiday Cards

A holiday card means so much to seniors, and it is a great way to give them a tangible expression of your love during the season. Heartfelt cards can be made from scratch using construction paper, stencils, markers, paint, stickers, and any other materials you can get your hands on.

You might have a holiday card party for the grandkids, letting each of them make their own collection of small cards that you pack into a box and send to your loved ones. You can even Photoshop your loved one into the family card so they feel connected and included despite the long distance.

Share Family Recipes

Food is such an essential part of the holidays. Many families will share generational recipes with one another, bringing comfort and happiness to seniors. Consider making a new family recipe together, which you can all cook in your own homes and enjoy over video chat. You could even host a virtual family dinner that allows you to dine across the distance.

Take pictures of family members enjoying your loved one’s creation, which you can attach to a holiday card or include in a care package. To make their lives easier, you can ship the ingredients or arrange doorstep delivery to ensure the whole family can make the same dish.

Send Meaningful Care Packages

Distance from loved ones can be especially challenging for seniors throughout the holiday season. They may feel left out, lonely, and forgotten. Care packages are a great way to connect throughout the year and bring even more comfort and joy during the holidays.

A meaningful senior care package includes feel-good items that speak to your loved one’s heart. Don’t worry about the cost; as the saying goes, “it’s the thought that counts.”

Here are some examples to help inspire you:

  • A hand-decorated picture frame with a beloved photo inside
  • A personalized mug with the grandkids’ names or faces
  • Jewelry with family members’ birthstones and a card listing each one
  • Personalized gifts with family members’ names or favorite things
  • Handwritten letters from their adult children and grandchildren
  • Nostalgic albums or vintage items from your loved one’s earlier years

When it comes to choosing gifts, if you are in a place to do so, pay little attention to the monetary value. Instead, opt for things that help improve their quality of life. This could be a subscription to a magazine or newspaper they enjoy, a new pair of slippers to keep their feet warm, or a soft blanket.

Remember to keep mobility in mind as well. Some seniors have reduced grip, so gifts they can use with one hand, like a nice electric toothbrush or mug with a lid (which helps prevent spills and burns), will be of extra value.

Modify Family Traditions

Your holiday celebrations can still be meaningful from afar. One of the best ways to ease senior loneliness during the holiday season is by modifying family traditions to be more inclusive. Create a group chat for text messaging that seniors can use to stay updated on everyone’s lives and celebrations. Most platforms for group chats will make it easy for all family members to share pictures, videos, and voice recordings.

Traditions don’t have to be forgotten because you can no longer physically celebrate together. Whether it’s opening gifts over FaceTime or having a Zoom holiday feast, there are plenty of ways to make subtle changes to create more inclusive traditions.

Don’t be afraid to get creative and try something completely new. You could arrange for some holiday sweets to be delivered to your loved one’s doorstep, or you could send them a cookie decorating kit they can use with you over video chat. Because at the end of the day, it’s not about the tradition itself but how participating in it makes people feel and how it brings everyone together.

Hiring a Care Manager

The holiday season reminds us how important it is to cherish the ones we love the most. From counseling senior loneliness to providing aged home care, we offer a variety of services designed to make aging easier.

At Reflections Management and Care, one of our goals is to help you find the right resources for your aging loved one’s needs, such as our partner Electronic Caregiver. Electronic Caregiver helps seniors and families gain peace of mind through 24/7 support and emergency response.

A dedicated and experienced care manager can help you understand what your loved one needs most and connect them with relevant and beneficial services based on those needs. If this sounds like something you and your senior loved one could benefit from, please contact us today to schedule a consultation call.