Many senior citizens experience social isolation, which means that they primarily stay in their homes and have little contact with other people. They may be cut off from friends and family by distance and an inability to get out and about the way they once could. Social isolation can make a person feel disconnected and has been associated with serious health conditions. Because of the impact social isolation can have on seniors, taking steps to prevent your mom from being cut off from other people could be an important part of keeping her healthier longer.
One way to keep your mom connected with family members is to have a family reunion. May is the perfect time to start planning a reunion because it’s Family Reunion Month. Letting your mom participate in planning the family reunion could get her excited about it and help her to feel useful and engaged. If you’ve never planned a family reunion before, you might feel a little overwhelmed by the prospect—especially if you have a large family. Here are some tips to help you get started.
- Create a Plan: Sit down with your mom and make a plan for the reunion. Some professional event planners suggest you start planning a year in advance, but the length of time you need probably depends on the size of your family and how elaborate the party will be.
- Send Save the Date Cards: Family members will need some advanced notice of the date to make sure their calendars are free. Save the date cards simply notify people that an event is coming up and provide them with the date and time. You don’t need to have the details ironed out yet. You can put your mom in charge of addressing the cards and putting stamps on the envelopes. Her elder care provider can assist her with this step. If the post office is close, suggest that she and her elder care provider walk the cards down to the post office to mail them—that way she’ll also have a reason to get in some physical activity.
- Plan Some Activities: Try to come up with activities for all age groups. Also, plan some activities for outside and some for inside. You may also want to have optional outings, such as golfing or a shopping trip. Let your mom help with some of the research for this step. If her elder care provider is computer savvy, they may be able to help her do some Internet research.
- Celebrate Family History: Ask your guests to bring family photos to share. You and your mom can plan a display table for photos and family memorabilia. Ask your mom to go through photo albums to choose pictures to get the display started.
There are many other steps involved in planning a family reunion, but hopefully these ideas will help you and your mom get started. While it may be tempting to do everything yourself, try to keep your mom involved as you plan. Ask her elder care provider to help her with small tasks you feel she can do without you, but for which she may need a little help.
If you or an aging loved one needs elder care in Davis, CA, remember Senior Home Care Services. Call us at (916) 514-7006 for more information.