Five tips for keeping your elderly loved ones comfortable and engaged during family gatherings

1. Have them help prepare the meal/ table

Involve your loved one in simple tasks that keep them engaged in conversation but away from the stove. Pull up a chair to your kitchen table and have them help you fold napkins, roll dough, fill glasses with ice, place dinner rolls in a dish etc. These are great ways to keep them busy and feeling helpful.

2. Get family photo albums out

This activity will entertain your loved one when there is a bit of down time and may also jog their memory and spark some fun family story telling for the whole family to enjoy.

3. Involve the kids

Kids love an audience. Have the kids put on a show with songs, skits, or puppets and the older folks will eat it up. Or, if their is a new baby in the family, allow the older family members to hold the baby.

4. Keep music instrumental on low volume

Large gatherings can be a struggle for those with hearing loss or those with hearing aides. Multiple voices can become difficult to focus on. 

5. Take time for one on one conversation 

Life for older individuals is a bit slower than ours. The value of a 10 minute conversation  will help your elderly loved one feel more relaxed during a large gathering. Encourage several family members to take turns sitting and talking with your loved one. Looking at photos together or Christmas ornaments on the Christmas tree is a great way to spark conversation.