The holidays are always a great opportunity to capture memories with family members. This can be especially important if you have an aging senior in your family. Making special memories for all generations can really help liven up any celebration. Here are a few ideas to get started for you and your aging parents this Christmas.
Teach Family Recipes
Food is an enduring theme in family celebrations across all cultures. Family meals can bring any family together for holiday cheer. If you want to create special memories with your aging parents, make sure that cooking together is a part of your celebration. Have your aging parents teach the children how to makes their special cookies. This will foster fun for all ages and will pass down family traditions to the next generation.
If you can, get your grandmother to write down the recipe in her own handwriting. Having an original copy of the recipe will be something to treasure in the years to come. If you have relatives out of town you can even help them to feel included by recording grandma as she cooks. Teaching family recipes can be an excellent activity for any family to grow closer.
Share Stories About the Past
Every family has a history that is uniquely its own. What keeps the history alive is retelling it. Learning family history can be a very bonding experience. You can tell your children about when you were their age. Additionally, the grandparents telling stories from their youth can help to bridge the divide of generations. Learning about who your parents were and how they came to be who they are is important to your family history. Passing down stories will ensure that their memory lives on for generations to come.
If you want to go even deeper into family history, consider going onto Ancesty.com https://www.ancestry.com/ to search your family tree You never the treasures you’ll find when you begin to research your family history. Where did your ancestors come from? What is your legacy? You might come across some interesting articles that give insight into your family’s history and spark discussion.
Make a Holiday Craft
One excellent way to get multiple generations in your family to collaborate is through crafts. This is especially handy if your family has children who are 10 and under. Not only will this keep everyone in the family engaged, but you will have a physical reminder of the memory your made together. Walk your aging parents through the process of making the craft so that they can teach it to the children in your family. With aging parents who are cognitively declined, you should supervise the crafting.
Younger children and senior adults will have to work together to successfully create the crafts. Due to this, crafting can be a great way to create fond memories for all generations. Check out a few of our favorite holiday themed ideas:
Christmas Potato Stamps:
Skill Level: Easy.
Have your senior loved one cut designs and shapes into potatoes safely. If your loved one has difficulty gripping or handling knives, you might want to supervise this process. After the stamps are cut, your aging parents and children will love creating holiday cards together. Everyone will love receiving these thoughtful cards made with creativity and care.
Skill Level: Hard.
An Ice Lantern can be an excellent pre-party activity. This is a great craft for children who are interested in science, because it demonstrates how water expands when it freezes. This project can take anywhere from 4-5 hours to complete, but the results are very beautiful. One of the best parts of an ice lantern is that this project is practically free!
Skill Level: Intermediate.
Get your family into the winter spirit by having them craft snowflake ornaments out of clothespins. If you are using a hot glue gun to secure the pins together, ensure that an adult is supervising. Once the pins are secured the children can decorate the ornaments to their hearts content. As a bonus, these attractive little ornaments can be the perfect party favors for aunts and uncles once they are finished.
Skill Level: Intermediate.
A gingerbread house is a classic holiday staple. Have your parents build the structure of the house while the children explore their creativity through candy decorating. The best part? Once the masterpiece is done, the whole family can eat it! Building a gingerbread house can require a little dexterity, so ensure that your parent has the motor skills to build the structure if you want this to be a part of your celebration.
Coffee Filter Christmas Trees:
Skill Level: Easy.
This simply craft is appropriate for people of all ages, and the result is a very attractive, fluffy little Christmas tree that can be incorporated into nearly any decorating scheme. The tree can be colored in a number of ways, including painting, spraying with a blend of water and food coloring, or dusting with chalk pastels. This craft is very quick and easy to complete, so it might be the perfect addition to your holiday party.
Include Music in Your Celebration
Making music a part of your holiday celebration in an instant recipe for success. Make a playlist of holiday songs and have a sing along with the whole family. Add songs from your parent’s childhood to the mix to engage them as well. For people with Alzheimer’s or dementia music can help to increase memory and cognitive function. Not to mention, music can be a great way to transcend boundaries and bring people together.
Have a dance party with the kids and sing along to the music. Your whole family will have a blast and you will be able to teach the youngest generation some music from the past. Rest assured, the family will be talking about the fun they had for years to come.
Take Photos and Videos
No matter what you do at your holiday get together, make sure that you take photos and videos. If you have preteens or teenagers, they will likely be able to show you some amazing tricks for capturing photo and video with a smartphone. Plus, they will get a kick out of grandma’s reaction to all the funny snapchat filters. Having family photos, especially with seniors is social media gold.
Take a candid video of your family reminiscing or singing Christmas songs. Revisiting these family memories can be a great way to spark the interest of someone with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. When you capture memories, you can always go back to them and use them to teach the next generation. Having candid photos of your family will permanently capture the life and vibrancy of your family.
Have a Happy Holiday with your family!
We hope that you are able to celebrate a wonderful winter season with your family. If you have any questions or concerns about aging parents this Christmas, contact us today at Caregogi!