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How to help aging parents to enjoy Independence Day


Independence Day can hold a lot of meaning for elders, especially those who’ve served in the military or lived through wars.  How can seniors with limited mobility or with cognitive impairment enjoy the holiday this year?  Appeal to the senses! 

  •  Find and play patriotic music.  A lot is available on YouTube, and you can find something to suit your taste. These are songs that many elders learned in school and have known for most of their lives.  They will evoke memories and activate stored knowledge.  You’ll probably find your loved one singing along!
  • Get red, white and blue visuals.  Small, decorative favors can bring a festive look to the room and provide motor skill activity if appropriate:  a flag or pompoms to hold and wave in the hand. These can also become conducting batons to go along with the music. If your senior likes more activity, a simple craft that could be done together is a paper chain of red, white and blue construction paper rings, to decorate the room.
  • Enjoy the tastes of the holiday.  We all think of strawberries and blueberries when we think of the Fourth, and for some diets this will be acceptable.  Others might have more restrictive diets but might enjoy attentions to detail in other ways: cookie cutters used to make star shapes or  food coloring to add red, white, and blue to the plate. 

To the extent that is appropriate for your elder, share this holiday with them, bringing to them  the excitement of Independence Day, today and the memories of celebrating July 4 for past many, many decades..