Independence Day takes on a whole new meaning this year as the world resumes some senses of normalcy after months of COVID-19 restrictions. The residents and staff at Princeton Health Care Center are ready to celebrate America’s birthday with a fun calendar of activities and events that are sensitive to the needs of those in long-term care facilities. If you would like to involve the seniors in your life in your festivities, follow these tips to have a safe and healthy holiday.
Food Preparation and Menu Planning
- Keep It Simple And Traditional: Simple and familiar foods are best for individuals receiving dementia care. Items like hot dogs, hamburgers, potato salad, and coleslaw, may help trigger happy memories of 4th of July celebrations from their past.
- Ice Cream Social: An ice cream sundae bar is a great way to make your meal more interactive and give choices about what to eat. Make sure to include options for those who are limiting their dairy or sugar intake due to health concerns.
- Patriotic Dessert: Create a fun cake or fruit salad making the most of seasonal red, white, and blue foods and decorations. Berries and whip cream are fun yet simple choices.
- Let Seniors Help: If it is safe for the seniors in your family to assist with food preparation, involve them. Having small hosting responsibilities bolsters independence and instills confidence in those who may feel helpless or frail on a daily basis.
Group Activities At Home
If your senior isn’t up to going out, an informal gathering at their home or yours can still be packed with these fun and carefree activities:
- Barbecue: Fire up the grill and let your senior play chef if they are willing and able, or just enjoy this 4th Of July staple on your own lawn.
- Game time: Card games and board games connect seniors to others without too much physical exertion. Simple strategy games keep aging brains active and functioning.
- Singalong!: Music is a powerful way to retrieve and create memories in Alzheimer’s care facilities. Play instruments if that is your thing, or get a karaoke program for your computer, cell phone, or game system. Patriotic songs will set the mood but any familiar tunes will do!
- Movie Night: If the excitement is just too much, a cozy and calm night watching movies together is a fine way to celebrate any holiday.
- Watch televised parades and fireworks: If you can’t go to the big celebrations, bring them to your living room and watch televised parades and fireworks displays from all over the world!
Going Out With Seniors
For seniors who are in good health, an outing is a fun way to celebrate Independence Day! Local parades, fireworks shows, and parties happen in great numbers on the 4th of July. Follow these tips for optimal safety:
- Find a shady spot: Older adults are more susceptible to the effects of the sun, so keep them cool and covered.
- Keep outings short: For those who are in dementia care, longer visits can create confusion and agitation.
- Bring a jacket or blanket: Many seniors are more sensitive to evening breezes than younger people are.
- Seating: Make sure that any older adults in your group have comfortable chairs to sit on so they do not have to stand or sit on the floor, which may make it harder to get up.
- Stay hydrated: Adequate water intake is crucial in outdoor settings in the summer, especially for seniors.
- Bathroom breaks: Seniors may need more frequent trips to the bathroom and may also require reminders to avoid embarrassing accidents that could cut your outing short.
Independence Day is an important holiday for seniors who have lived through many different events and changes. These minor adjustments will create a day that is full of fun and good memories for all who are present! If you have a loved one needing skilled nursing or long-term care, call Princeton Health Care Center to learn more about the services and activities that we offer!