As you put the finishing touches on plans for your family Independence Day celebration, take a moment to think about elderly relatives. Including them in your July 4th festivities is a great way to help them feel engaged in life and connected with family and friends.
Keep in mind that not all traditional activities are well-suited for seniors. Is it possible to adapt traditional July 4th activities so that elderly loved ones can join in while staying safe, comfortable, and calm? Fortunately, the answer is yes!
If your elderly loved one still enjoys attending a traditional July 4th barbecue or fireworks watching party, try these tips to make activities elder-friendly:
Limit direct sun exposure by seating elderly loved ones in a cool and shady spot.
Bring a light jacket or blanket to keep them comfortable while watching fireworks during cool nights.
Provide a comfortable seat that provides backs support. Bring a cushion, portable chair, or wheelchair if needed.
Bring favorite beverages and frequently encourage loved ones to drink so they’ll stay hydrated.
Assist as needed so they get regular bathroom breaks to reduce or eliminate the chance of an accident.
If an elderly loved one has Alzheimer’s or dementia, limit the time spent at large gatherings to reduce the chances of agitation or anxiety.
If elderly loved ones are housebound but would still enjoy participating in holiday celebrations, why not bring the party to them? Try these ideas:
Throw a backyard barbecue or ice cream social at their house. Your loved ones can participate when they want or just people-watch. This lets them join the fun, but keeps them from getting overtired or overstimulated, especially important for those with Alzheimer’s or dementia.
Have a patriotic sing-a-long! Play a karaoke soundtrack from your mobile device. Choose songs your elder probably knows, such as America the Beautiful, My Country ‘Tis of Thee, This Land is Your Land, or Yankee Doodle.
Ooh and ahh together while watching fireworks on TV.
Watch a fun, lighthearted movie classic. Singin’ in the Rain or Meet Me in St. Louis are two fun choices.
Play simple card games or classic board games.
Make traditional foods like hot dogs, hamburgers, potato salad, and coleslaw. Involve elderly loved ones in cooking and food preparation as much as they’re able and willing.
Adapting your Independence Day celebration to meet the needs of elderly loved ones doesn’t have to be difficult or expensive. All it takes is a little creativity, a little ingenuity, and a lot of love. You’ll be creating positive memories for the whole family, and you’ll be glad you did.