People taking care of elderly loved ones want to make sure that they feel included on major holidays. Many caregivers put a lot of attention into making sure that Christmas, Hanukkah, and similar December holidays are inclusive for elderly ones. But what about New Year’s Eve?
Sometimes New Year’s Eve can be a bit of a quandary. For example, many senior citizens are not night owls and may not have the stamina for staying up to welcome in the new year. (Of course, some are party animals, who, if given half a chance and will stay awake long past their caregivers’ bedtimes!)
As those taking care of elderly people know, every senior is different, so needs and expectations on New Year’s Eve will differ. But here are some options that caregivers may want to consider.
- Have a sleepover. If your senior has some able-bodied friends, invite a few over for a sleepover. (That means no one needs to worry about being on the roads going back to their homes late at night.) If there’s space, set up some bedding in the living room so that all can be together to watch the ball drop; those who doze off before midnight can be awakened, welcome in the new year, and drop back off to sleep.
- Plan a special meal. If a big party is out of the question, do something special for dinner. Go to a restaurant that is special to a loved one, or prepare a meal that includes their favorite dishes. If there are any family traditions (such as eating black eyed peas for new year’s) try to include them.
- Do a “look back.” In advance of the evening, make a list of events that have occurred this year and talk about them. It may be helpful in some cases to include some visuals to help jog memories.
- Decorate. Even if it’s just the caregiver and the loved one, do a little decorating. Party hats, balloons, streamers – make the night festive!
- Plan activities. Again, even if it’s just two people, find some things to do. Watch a special movie. Play cards or break out a fun board game. Make some silly hats or crowns to wear, or engage in other craft activities.
Those taking care of elderly patients sometimes miss out on the festivities, but making New Year’s Eve special can be a good way for both caregivers and patients to enjoy themselves.