How to make sure your elderly loved ones feel included this holiday season

The holidays are often one of the most exciting times for families to celebrate, especially for seniors. They know holidays are a time for gathering, so they look forward to these opportunities to hear the stories of the year, tighten family ties, and bond with those they hold dear.

While arranging transportation and assistance for older family members may be a challenge, it’s well worth it for their health and even for that of the younger generations. Elder members of the family provide a history for those following them to realize where they came from and what traditions they hold close to home. Even sharing recipes can provide a family story for generations to come.

Here are the top three worthwhile reasons to ensure your elderly loved one’s holiday is special:

Inclusion Promotes Better Health Overall

We know it’s not just the cold that can make the holidays long, it’s the lonely days. When you are living alone, those days when the sun goes down early can seem endless--but the holiday lights can offer a happy (and healthy) flicker.

In addition to the joys of having our parents/grandparents provide a sense of peace, having family ties can also help the elderly remain strong. According to Nick Ferrari’s AARP Bulletin, strong family ties can even lower the chance of dying by 50 percent for some adults. Additionally, if grandparents feel a sense of purpose to their grandchildren, that also can keep them active.

Working Together Can Make It Easier

Sometimes it is just not feasible for you to pick up your family member during the holiday season. In this case, stress the importance to your relatives to ensure inclusion. Families should work together and ensure the elderly have visitors during the holiday season. Taking turns is one thing, but organizing a true family visit may also help elder members of the family feel like a part of the celebration. Elders who are visited feel important, and organizing an event around them may make them feel even more valued as individuals and important parts of the family unit.

The Little Things Mean A LOT

While you may not be able to help on the day of the actual celebration, you can always help in the weeks and days leading up to a family party. Go the extra mile by helping your loved one with holiday shopping, wrapping presents, or implementing their favorite holiday recipes so they’ll feel they have something special to bring to the table!

‘Tis the season to be jolly and gracious to those who taught the traditions handed down. Plan now to include the most valued members of your family in holiday celebrations. Make them a priority as you were in their lives … and still remain so.

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