5 Engaging Christmas Activities for the Elderly
Christmas is just around the corner, and it is the perfect opportunity to spend some time with your senior loved one. This Christmas season, encourage your aging loved one to try out some of these engaging activities that can boost his or her health and wellbeing.
1. Play Christmas Bingo
In addition to providing socialization, playing bingo also enhances concentration. By remembering call combinations, your loved one’s listening skills, short-term memory, and processing speed may be enhanced. Covering the cards with chips refines hand-eye coordination. To make the game even more engaging, award prizes such as snow globes, Christmas CDs, gripper socks, hand lotion, cologne, and perfume.
If your loved one has dementia or impaired vision, use large cards with bold typeface and contrasting colors. You can download Christmas bingo cards and accessories from the internet.
2. Attend a Community Event
Local activities provide socialization and mental stimulation. Your town likely holds many holiday events such as parades, tree lightings, and concerts. Craft fairs and holiday bazaars provide an opportunity for your loved one to shop for presents. Even without making purchases, just gazing at handcrafts can be exciting. You can also take your loved one to a holiday film, musical, or play. If there’s a senior center in your neighborhood, there’s sure to be a Christmas party.
Check the event listings for your town either online or in your local paper. If your loved one uses a wheelchair, call in advance to ensure accessibility.
3. Make Birdseed Ornaments
Making bird seed ornaments can help seniors increase their hand-eye coordination and exercise their brains. Here is a quick guide on how to create birdseed ornaments.
Assemble a saucepan, spoon, bowl, parchment, cookie-cutter, cooking spray, drinking straw, twine, and the following ingredients:
- 3 teaspoons unflavored gelatin
- ½ cup water
- ¾ cup flour
- 3 tablespoons corn syrup
- 4 cups birdseed
Warm the gelatin, water, and corn syrup over low heat. Combine the flour and birdseed in a large bowl. Gradually pour the liquid over the dry ingredients and mix with a spoon.
Coat the cutters with cooking spray and lay them on parchment. Spoon the birdseed mixture into the cutters, pressing firmly against the molds. Insert the straw through the top third of each ornament, making a hole for the twine. After the ornaments have dried overnight, remove the cutters. Loop the twine through the holes, knot the ends, and hang the ornaments on trees outside.
4. Assemble a Christmas-Themed Jigsaw Puzzle
Putting together jigsaw puzzles can benefit the mind by forging connections between both cerebral hemispheres. Joining pieces requires focus, summoning short-term memory. Similar to meditation, assembling jigsaw puzzles lowers heart rate, reduces blood pressure, and slows breathing.
By working a jigsaw puzzle, your loved one can boost his or her problem-solving and fine motor skills. The activity enables the brain to release dopamine, a chemical that fosters happiness. Christmas-themed jigsaws raise awareness of the holiday and can evoke happy memories. Regular socialization is another activity that can boost a senior’s cognitive skills and mental acuity.
5. Volunteer at the Local Church
By volunteering at a local church, your loved one can socialize, exercise, and feel productive and happy. At the church service, your loved one might enjoy being a greeter, usher, or lector. If your loved one is physically able, he or she can hang decorations. Many churches sponsor food pantries and deliver Christmas baskets to people in the community. If this opportunity exists, your loved one can donate food or perhaps assemble baskets.
Source: Home Care Assistance