Keeping true to traditions through the generations

Passover Dinner

For many of us, the tradition has always been to celebrate at our parents’ home, but our aging parents may find that holiday preparations have become overwhelming. And they may, or may not, be comfortable telling us!

As we approach the holidays of Passover and Easter, we are reminded again of the importance of connecting with our aging relatives and carrying on the traditions in our families. For the oldest members of our families, the holidays have the potential to bring on a great deal of stress.

For many of us, the tradition has always been to celebrate at our parents’ home, but our aging parents may find that holiday preparations have become overwhelming. And they may, or may not, be comfortable telling us!

Seniors are also more susceptible to feelings of melancholy during the holidays. And, again..they may, or may not, let us know they are feeling this way; but it’s a good time to remind them of how valued they are.

After discussing this topic with our geriatric social work staff, they suggested several ways to help to ensure that we continue to treasure and include our elders even as their role in family holidays changes.

  1. Ask the older adult what they want. Do not assume that they want to host the family dinner, but also don’t assume they don’t. They are proud of their role as the holiday host and may feel embarrassed or ashamed to have to ask for help. Kind and calm conversation in advance o the holidays will help to diffuse unnecessary stress and hurt feelings.
  2. Go the older adult’s home to help them prepare. Many older adults still want to host holidays or family dinners, but cannot physically prepare for the entire event alone as they may have done previously. This offers the ideal opportunity for younger members of the family to gently offer to help citing their interest in learning the family traditions.
  3. Offer to host the meal at your home with the help of the older adult. Some seniors who may hoave downsized their home or are in senior care can no longer host a large family gathering. However, they most likely want to remain a large part of the event and want to bring their famous dish to contribute to the meal.
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