Caring for a senior, whether as a professional caregiver or as the spouse or adult child of a senior who needs care, takes a lot of energy any time of the year. The holidays are no different, so making sure you get the downtime you need and the celebration of the fresh start of a new year are both important. Creating fun New Years Eve festivities doesn’t need to be a highly involved and complicated process. Combining a special occasion with the day-to-day needs of taking care of a senior citizen honors both the holiday and your dedication to care.
Plan the Party
Everyone likes to feel needed, so include your senior in the planning process. Ask him what he remembers from years past, what he liked and didn’t like. Set him to work writing a shopping list for you that includes favorite snacks, beverages, and fun novelty New Years Eve hats. Decide what you’ll wear to add a touch of festivity, and plan to add some sparkle to your senior’s outfit. If possible, enlist help with the actual shopping, whether your helper does the shopping or stays with your senior while you leave for fresh air.
Explore the Memories
New Years Eve is often a time of reflection. Gather old albums and framed photographs from around the house and take your time looking at them with your senior. Listen to the stories the photos draw from her memories. It’s so easy to forget that she used to be a young, vibrant teenager, with her entire life’s hopes and dreams in front of her. If possible, have another person there as scribe to record your senior’s memories. Ask questions, not about dates, but about how she felt when it rained, how the watermelon tasted, what her first kiss was like.
Rediscover the Music
Find a music station on the Internet that plays music from your senior’s favorite musical era. Stations playing every genre imaginable are available on sites such as Shoutcast, Spotify, or iHeartRadio. Playing “Name that Tune” gets everyone into the music and gives your senior a chance to shine.
The Ball Drops
The highlight of every New Years Eve is the dropping of the ball in Times Square in New York City. If it’s not feasible to stay up until midnight, find a video of the ball dropping in years past on YouTube and watch it on your time. Another option is to celebrate New Years with a completely different time zone than yours, so you’re celebrating at 3 pm instead of midnight.
No matter when or how you celebrate, wear your silly New Years hats and raise a glass of champagne, sparkling cider, or other beverage to toast good wishes new year.