Holiday Traditions and Older Family Members

By Susan McCurry

Traditions, aren’t they made to be broken? Should I choose to soothe the holiday blues with the salve of new traditions? Mom is older and tired. Should I think outside the box of dust covered memories and faded photos?

While older, wiser loved ones will tend to take a foot hold in the depths of years past and what they view as happier times, they do want to be a part of what is taking place now. Reminders of the past are often used to stimulate those with dementia and other short term memory issues and will revive them temporarily. However, placing them stage center in the here and now often lifts spirits and gives the entire family a gift that will never be reclaimed.

With the digital era upon us, younger generations have embraced the technology that evolves almost daily. Take full advantage of this opportunity during family holiday events. Encourage selfies and snap chat sessions with grandparents and their younger counterparts. Watch them smile and giggle when they have a crown of flowers or an elf hat magically placed on their head in a live video. Be prepared to take tons of new photos and videos when you place the virtual reality headset on Grandpa. Decide ahead of time if you want him to run from zombies or ride a roller coaster! Re-Introduce them to relatives across the nation through Face Time or Skype.

Holidays are for enjoying one another, and what better way to bring together the young and old.

While these types of new traditions are fun to unfold and provide us with snippets of laughter never heard, they will never surpass those that are steeped and rooted within us all…baking grandmother’s red-velvet cake and having her cut the first piece with her mother’s serving knife, watching wrinkled hands and curled fingers gently bring the piano to life as we gather to sing our favorite songs of the season, having Grandpa recite his own childhood stories and the crackling jazz of Bing Crosby from his vintage record player in the corner.

No matter how you decide to include your elderly family members in the holidays, make sure the scents, the melodies, the laughter and love linger for many generations to come.

About this writer

  • Susan McCurry

    Susan McCurry

    Hospice Care of South Carolina has provided excellent patient care since 1997. We are licensed to serve every county statewide allowing us to admit 7 days a week with local staff available 24 hours a day. Susan U. McCurry is the Community Relations Liaison for Hospice Care of South Carolina, particularly working for their Palliative Care program. She is also a licensed practical nurse, certified in hospice and palliative care and has been employed with Hospice Care of South Carolina for the past 12 years. Susan and her husband Michael have four children and live in the upstate town of Blacksburg, SC.

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