May is the month designated as Older Americans Month, and this year’s theme has been tabbed as ‘Aging Unbound’, an attempt to dispel stereotypes about aging and explore a number of different aging experiences. If you have a senior loved one in your home, or if you have planned a visit with them, there are a number of ways you can celebrate Older Americans Month and make your senior feel special.
In this article, we’ll make some suggestions you might want to try this year so as to make May a special month for your elderly loved one. Both you and your senior loved ones will come away with a good feeling for having done something special in May and for having recognized their importance in your life.
Have A Picnic
Regardless of where you live in the country, the month of May typically has some very nice weather, and that means it could be ideal to plan a picnic with your senior loved ones. It could be that your elderly parents haven’t been on a picnic since childhood, and it might be something that really appeals to them. It’s always good to get out in the fresh air, engage in some outdoor activities, and walk around enjoying the natural wonders around us. You can get the whole family involved by asking everyone to bring a dish to the beach or park where the picnic will be held. This will give everyone a chance to reconnect with their seniors, and it will also alleviate some of the workload on you for preparing all the food.
Stage A Virtual Game Night
If it’s difficult to gather the entire family for a picnic, you might want to try arranging a virtual Game Night which everyone can participate in. To have such an event, it’s only necessary that participants have a reliable computer connection, and that they know what time to join in on the fun. There are all kinds of games you could choose, although you may want to select one that you’re sure would be suitable for your senior participants. Trivia games can be great fun and can draw on the life knowledge that your elderly parents already have. Other ideas might be to arrange a virtual game of Pictionary, or to have everyone join in on a virtual escape room. These can be both challenging and fun, and everyone’s input can be valuable in helping you to find your way out. Any game that you think all participants would enjoy will be a great idea.
Book A Private Dining Area At A Local Restaurant
Pretty much everyone enjoys eating out, so this could be a great idea, especially if you arrange for it at your parents’ favorite local restaurant. It will call for some coordination of course, since you’ll have to obtain a headcount prior to making your reservation. Since the weather should be favorable, you might even want to have your booking set outside, so you can all enjoy the fresh smell of the outdoors during your meal together. A gathering of family members like this can be especially appealing to elderly loved ones because it reminds them that they are loved and respected within the family. Many elderly persons tend to be somewhat withdrawn and isolated for much of their day-to-day activities, so an event that brings together the important people in their lives may be much appreciated.
This is one of the great American pastimes, and when family members are gathered in one place, it can be even more significant for your senior loved ones. It may be that some other family member has better accommodations for hosting such an event, so consult with family members to see who has the most room, the biggest backyard, the best barbecue equipment, etc. This is another situation where you can have everyone attending bring a dish to pass, and this reduces the burden on any single family member. The cost of holding an event like this can be spread out among family members, so no one foots the entire bill. It might even be a good idea to involve your senior loved ones in planning and preparing for such an event, so they can feel like they are still useful and have a purpose in life.
Arrange to have a story circle event at your house. You can invite any senior friends your parents might have, perhaps from their social group or community group. Transportation will have to be arranged, but it will be well worth the effort when you can get a number of seniors together to share some of the important events and stories from their lives. You can set yourself up as the moderator or host, and go around the circle, encouraging participants to relate events from their lives that are either humorous, exciting, or significant to them in some way. Everyone comes away from an event like this feeling satisfied and enriched, because they have engaged with others in a meaningful way, and have learned things about their friends that tend to draw them closer.