As many of us know, the holidays can be difficult for the elderly for one reason or another — either they’ve lost a spouse, live alone, or perhaps they live in a nursing home. It can be a hard and lonely season during a normal year, but with many of them unable to have visitors or attend social events due to COVID-19, it can be even harder. So with that, it’s more important now than ever to remember our elderly family members, neighbors, and friends this Christmas.
We’ve rounded up a list of ways to serve and love our elderly well this season, and I hope it is helpful to you! Beyond physical gifts, we have so many things “to do” to show our love.
Send Them A Care Package
A potted plant, a tea set, or a digital picture frame with family photos would be a lovely thing to send to an elderly family member! Include handwritten cards and pictures from your children, their favorite coffee or tea, and print off a recent photo — they’ll cherish these items more than the actual gift itself! A reader recommended compiling a photo album filled with past Christmas gatherings – love that idea!
It would also be so special to send them something festive now to enjoy during the Christmas season! Another reader recommended decorating the outside of nursing home windows with window clings. A small Christmas plant or tree would be thoughtful too.
See more ideas on our Gift Guide for the Elderly!
Send Them A Meal
If you’re unable to celebrate Christmas with a loved one, send them a Christmas meal (or two). They’ll appreciate not having to prepare food for themselves and, although it’s not a home cooked meal, it’s the next best thing! You could even plan to FaceTime them and enjoy the dinner “together.”
Include Them In Your Christmas Plans
There are few things that bring our older family members more joy than seeing their grandchildren (or great-grandchildren). Tell them when you are planning on opening presents on Christmas morning and set up a Zoom call. Have them plan to read Luke 2 to your children on Christmas Eve. Plan a Zoom family Christmas carol singalong or carol outside their window. It might take a bit more planning on your end, but this will make them feel included and loved.
If They Live In A Nursing Home…
Many nursing homes do not allow visitors at this time, while others do. Depending on the facility, there are plenty of ways to get creative from afar!
You could “sponsor” a resident movie night or activity (and provide individually wrapped goodies, if allowed) in their honor, have your children make cards or festive signs for your loved one and their friends, or send a big basket of Christmas treats.
A quick phone call to the facility’s director would likely give you plenty of ideas on how to make things special (and safe). Perhaps they would allow caroling outside residents’ widows?
If They’re Your Neighbor
Take a little bit of extra care to check on your elderly neighbors this season, especially if they are spending the holidays alone. Cook them a homemade meal on Christmas Eve, package up some Christmas cookies, leave a potted poinsettia on their front porch, or take them a small gift on Christmas morning (along with a to-go cup of fresh coffee) so they have something to open.
And if you’re looking for gift ideas, hop over to our Gift Guide for the Elderly — you’ll find lovely gifts at all price points that they’re sure to love!
We would appreciate if you would share this post on social media to encourage everyone in your circles to reach out to the elderly this season! Thank you!