12/21/2020 | By Terri L. Jones

We’ve all been concerned about how kids are going to cope when they can’t see Grandma and Grandpa because of COVID over the holidays. But what about Grandma or Grandpa? It’s as hard – if not harder – for them if they are isolated during this traditional family time.

That’s why many local communities are taking steps to alleviate the loneliness seniors may be experiencing; we’ve come up with some ways to bring holiday cheer to seniors in your area – or in your own family!

Christmas Cruise

While few of us want to risk getting on a cruise ship these days, some Iowans recently festooned their cars with signs and decorations and cruised through a senior living community to bring Christmas cheer to residents there. Hosted by a local nonprofit, this event also included carolers and a jolly Santa collecting gifts from the “cruisers” for the residents. Said one of cruise hosts, “Small gestures and Christmas cheer can go a long way this time of year.” Read more about these festivities!

Elf Delivery

Before it’s all-hands-on-deck for Santa’s elves, a small band of these spirited helpers delivered hundreds of colorful holiday bags to seniors in mobile home parks and retirement communities near San Diego, California. Packed full of masks, ornaments, hand-painted rocks and more, the bags made seniors “just plain happy” at this time of year, according to the event’s organizer. Read more about Santa’s little helpers.

Holiday Cheer to Seniors – in a Cup!

In Pennsylvania, the owner of a coffee and tea shop donated over 100 Christmas coffee mugs; they were packed with tea, hot chocolate mix, candy, lip balm, socks, and stuffed animal keychains, and distributed to older residents in assisted living communities. Because the shop proprietor imagined the pandemic had made it difficult for seniors to go shopping,  she suggested that seniors could even regift the contents of the cup if they chose to.

“We’ve always done gifts for our residents at the holidays. But these holidays are more challenging than most,” said a spokesperson at one of the communities. “Any little bit really helps to remind them that people are thinking of them and want them to (feel) special.” Read more!

We’ve got other ideas on how to include your aging loved ones in the holiday merriment – safely!

For more ideas on holiday cheer to seniors: you can also organize a group of socially distanced carolers to perform outside seniors’ doors; send a video of the grandkids wishing Grandma and Grandpa a happy holiday; or deliver a “turkey and the trimmings” holiday meal to them.

These are but a few of the ways to bring a little holiday cheer to seniors who can’t celebrate with loved ones. In the end, it’s all about making them feel included and remembered during this special time of year!

Terri L. Jones

Terri L. Jones has been writing educational and informative topics for the senior industry for over 10 years, and is a frequent and longtime contributor to Seniors Guide.

Terri Jones