Celebrate Independence Day with Elderly Loved Ones

The arrival of the Fourth of July means celebrations of many different kinds!  As America’s birthday, the Fourth of July is a chance for Americans to take the day off, have a picnic, go to a beach or park, or take advantage of sales at the shopping mall.  The Fourth of  July is also one of the few holidays that are unique to the U.S., and it’s the perfect opportunity to spend time with friends and family, enjoying summer weather, food and fireworks.  Celebrating Independence Day may not always be easy for older adults living in assisted living communities.  Many have limited mobility and might not be able to head out to the local parade or fireworks display.  However, family caregivers can take the right steps to bring the holiday to their loved ones.


 Family members and caregivers can make sure to include them in the festivities by taking the party to them.  There are plenty of senior-specific activities to do for the Fourth of July celebration.  For example, you can make red, white and blue desserts and snacks.  You can also show a patriotic movie. Good movie choices include “The Best Years of Our Lives,”, “1776,” and “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington”.


Burgers and hot dogs are just a few staples of the Fourth of July.  While such foods may be OK for the younger population, that’s not always the case for seniors who have dietary restrictions.  Not only can certain foods have harmful interactions with their medications, others can raise their risk for developing health problems.  Simple changes to the July Fourth menu can yield considerable benefits.  For example, substituting fruit salad for potato salad can be a good start, as well as substituting heart-healthy fish instead of burgers.


If your elderly loved one is able to make the trip to the family barbecue, it’s important to plan well ahead for the event.  Make sure he  or she is wearing light, loose fitting clothing, or layers, especially with the unpredictability of our Wisconsin weather.  In addition, ensure he or she is in a place where they can get around easily, and that there are not too many crowds if they have mobility problems.  Also, be sure to bring your elderly loved one’s medication with you if you know that he or she will be gone for an extended period of time.


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