The holidays are a perfect time for family members of all ages to come together and enjoy spending quality time together. With multiple generations gathering in one place, it can be tricky to plan holiday gatherings that are fun and safe for everyone involved. Heres how you can accommodate senior guests at your house so that they feel comfortable and so that the entire family has a holiday to remember.
Start (or Continue) a Family Tradition
Unite the generations by starting or carrying out a family tradition. If theres something that your family did when you were younger, bring it back to recall happy memories with your parents and to give your children a peek into your life was growing up. It can be anything from hand-making holiday cards to wrapping presents together, or reading Twas the Night Before Christmas together, or even watching a holiday movie together. It could even be something as silly as a Christmas caroling contest in the living room, complete with homemade costumes. Whatever it is, a family tradition will instill a sense of togetherness in your family and will give family members something to look forward to during a holiday gathering.
Make Sure Your Home Accommodates Senior Guests
Ensure that your older guests will be comfortable in your home with a few simple home modifications for seniors. These small changes will help older guests with visual, hearing, or mobility impairment interact with everyone in the family. Arrange your furniture so that walkers or wheelchairs have plenty of room to get by or make 180 degree turns; for other ways to make your home wheelchair accessible for senior visitors, take a look at our infographic here.
Keep background music turned off or very low so that family members with hearing aids will be able to hear and understand conversations easily. If a family member has visual impairment, escort them to a seat up front and close so that its easier for them to see whats going on.
Finally, consider some simple, temporary measures to make your home more accessible for elderly guests. For example, you can add a portable ramp up to the front of your house or in the garage for visitors who are in wheelchairs or have trouble walking. Remove extra chairs from around the dining room table so that a guest in a wheelchair can easily join the table, and remove any hallway carpets or rugs that could cause trips and falls. Your senior guest will appreciate the thoughtfulness youve put into making your home accessible!
Be Mindful of Technology
Some seniors arent incredibly comfortable with technology, while others may have Facebook bookmarked and set Skype dates with their grandchildren. Whatever your senior guests proficiency is with technology, let guests know that technology should be used to interact with each other rather than isolate. Instead of sitting in a corner texting, encourage your daughter to take pictures with your mother. Instead of furiously playing the latest edition of Angry Birds, have your son play a game with Grandpa on the iPad, or set up a family viewing of a childs soccer game or dance recital. However, be sure to set aside some time for technology-free bonding as well so that you can connect with your family without being connected to your devices.
Throughout your holiday gatherings with family, make sure to view your gathering from the perspective of each family member, from youngest to oldest. Making everyone comfortable and encouraging activities that allow family members to interact together over shared interests are the key to a successful holiday gathering for all ages- that, and homemade Christmas cookies. For more information about how to make your home comfortable for seniors aging at home and what problems can improve your homes accessibility, call Home Access Products today.