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Share the Joy

Holidays are such a joyous time.  The caroling, the fresh smell of baked goods, and gathering with loved ones and friends are all signs of the holidays.  No matter what holiday is being celebrated and the traditions surrounding it, the sense of joy, hope, and goodness are feelings we experience.  These holidays are a time to celebrate and reflect on the past while planning for the future. 

When we have family members who are aging, the holidays may feel even more important.  As years pass, you become more and more aware of how precious time with your aging loved ones really is.  With the hustle and bustle of the holidays, it can be easy to overlook the importance of spending quality time with your older family members.  The holidays aren’t always happy for those aging family members.  They may deal with a chronic illness and traditions could bring back memories of those since lost. 

Get the whole family involved and come up with some fresh new holiday ideas to work into this year’s holiday celebration.  The ideas should be enjoyable while lending themselves to forming new memories with the entire family. 

A small gesture can go a long way in offering comfort, support, or connection.  The smallest action can have a big impact and bring joy to an aging loved one’s life.  Here are some ways you can make it easier for a loved one to enjoy the happiness of the season.  

  • Create new memories.  Aging family members are full of memories.  Those past memories can trigger sadness or depression.  Give them something new to anticipate.  Enjoy new holiday activities to create new memories such as looking at holiday lights or attending a holiday play.
  • Keep things positive.  Build activities around the things they can do.  Remember it’s about engaging them.  Once they buy into the activity, let the fun begin.  
  • Send a card or make a phone call.  Knowing you care enough to send a card or a letter reminds them they are loved.  This kind act will likely put a smile on their face.  

Aging loved ones can get lost in the hustle and bustle of the holidays.  Do your best to include you aging loved one in the activities.   Together, put up holiday decorations, do some baking, sing some holiday songs, or take a drive and enjoy the beauty of holiday lights.  While you are with your elderly loved ones and friends, be sensitive, patient, and loving.  After all, ‘tis the season to be jolly.”  

By Susie Ray, Marketing Director of The Arbordale, an independent living community in Urbandale, Iowa. Learn more about having a comfortable and convenient winter season at