Celebrating Hanukkah with SeniorsDecember 7, 2023
Celebrating Hanukkah with Seniors
Each year, Jewish families come together to observe the eight-day “festival of lights,” better known as Hanukkah. Because the Hebrew calendar is based on the lunar cycle, the dates of Hanukkah change on the Gregorian calendar each year. This year, Hanukkah begins on December 7 and ends on December 15.
If you are celebrating Hanukkah with seniors this year, you are in for a special treat. Your elderly loved one is a fountain of knowledge and traditions. Including them in your family celebrations will be a treat for all generations involved.
Decorate the home together
While decorating one’s home for Hanukkah only became a trend in the past several decades, one can’t deny the fun. Crafting is a fantastic activity for seniors, as it encourages them to engage the creative and problem-solving sides of their brains while also utilizing their hand-eye coordination. Whether you hang up store-bought décor or create your own, it is a fun, memorable activity to enjoy together.
Below are a few easy Hanukkah decoration ideas you can craft together.
- Create festive garland. A little bit of cardstock, paint, washi tape, and string come together to make a lovely, festive garland! Make a display of Hanukkah symbols, Hebrew letters, or simply write “Happy Hanukkah” and hang it up!
- Dreidel napkin fold. Making a dreidel out of a dinner napkin may feel near impossible, but it is actually easier than you might think!
- A Star of David wreath. Using a handful of dowels, cut, lay, and glue the pieces so they resemble a star of David. Then, paint it whatever color you like and hang it. You can leave it as-is or decorate it with lights.
Make traditional Hanukkah dishes together
Hanukkah is the perfect time to bring your elderly loved one into the kitchen. Even if they don’t enjoy cooking any longer, many seniors come out of retirement (in a sense) to take a crack at traditional recipes they’ve made for decades. If they were never much of a cook, they’ll likely still enjoy the smells and spending time with you.
Try making some of these traditional Hanukkah dishes together this year.
- Latkes, or potato pancakes, are potentially the best-known Hanukkah foods. Made of shredded and fried mashed potatoes, this delicious dish can be customized practically endlessly to fit your flavor pallet.
- Sufganiot, or Israeli jelly donuts, are a delicious, pillow dessert. Also fried to symbolize the miracle of oil in the story of Hanukkah, these can be filled with jam, apple butter, pudding, and so much more.
- Gelt, or chocolate coins, are often bought at the store, but they are easy to make on your own. Purchase gelt molds online and fill them with whatever chocolate you would like. Eat them as is, or topped with nuts, dried fruits, and other sweets.
Share stories about Hanukkahs gone by
Your elderly loved one has seen the world change and grow throughout the decades of their life. The same goes for their Hanukkah traditions—they may have had certain practices that they slowly lost as an adult. Encourage your loved one to share stories of their Hanukkah celebrations throughout different stages of their lives. You may find something new to incorporate into your festivities.
Give your loved one the gift of home care
For most older adults, aging in place is the dream. However, as one ages, it’s possible certain activities of daily living grow to be too much. Important tasks like cooking one’s own meals, remembering to take one’s medication, and even bathing all become painstaking chores. This makes living at home without support not feasible.
There is where an at-home caregiver can help. For 30 years, Home Care Powered by AUAF has assisted seniors with the necessary activities of living, and we would be happy to support you too. For more information on our program, give us a call at 773-274-9262. We are happy to help.
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