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From the Neighborhood Press

Labor Day: planning a party

It’s still warm out in Arvada. With summer winding down, everyone wants to take advantage of any last summer parties. Labor Day tends to bring family or friends together one last time before school starts and life begins in full swing again. As you plan the weekend, here are some things to consider when inviting your elderly loved ones to join. With just a few extra considerations to add comfort and provide a safe environment, you’ll be able to host your senior with ease.

Senior approved. It’s a good idea to make sure your family party or event will be appropriate for your senior. Abrupt or loud noises, too much commotion or pets may make your senior uncomfortable, especially if your loved one is part of a memory care program due to Alzheimer’s or dementia. Talk to your loved one’s caregivers and see what level of tolerance they might have when introduced to a new environment. Watching a backyard game or petting the family dog may just bring them some extra joy or these things may be a cause of anxiety.

Provide them with extra comfort. If your party is outdoors, consider your senior’s individual needs. A padded patio chair, the ability to sit in the shade and the opportunity to easily have access to a bathroom are all things to keep in mind. In the summer heat, it’s important to stay hydrated too. Many elderly people are no longer mobile, so make sure hydrating drinks are readily available to them and easy to access. Some skin sensitive sunscreen is always great to have on hand for them as well in case they forgot to bring their own!

Limit number of guests

Although vaccinations are widely available and pandemic guidelines for gatherings are no longer as restrictive, it’s a good idea to remember that there are still health risks to keep in mind. Make sure guests attending your party are aware that a senior will be attending your event. Ask guests to make sure they are healthy. It’s possible to suggest guests take a Covid-19 test before coming to your event. Keeping your party small and inviting just a few guests can help limit your senior’s exposure to illnesses too.

Serve food they’ll enjoy. There is nothing like hamburgers fresh off the backyard grill or homemade apple pie and ice cream. Most likely your senior has memories of summertime dinners from years past. Everyone has a different idea of what constitutes the best backyard summer food. Is your senior come from the South? Or perhaps the Southwest? They may have some favorite dishes they have come to enjoy and anticipate over the years. Ask them what their favorite dessert or ice cream is!

Keep it short. Your senior may be used to their assisted living community’s schedule with the opportunity to rest as needed. Or they may be in the care of a nursing home and no longer used to being out and about as much. Caregivers can give you some advice here and tell you if your loved one may tire quickly or are usually up for all of the social gatherings and events at their senior community. Have a plan B option ready in case your loved one needs to go home and rest earlier than you had planned. They’ll need a ride as well as some packed up leftovers of their favorite pie!

After the party is over, reach out to your senior and spend some time remembering the good times you shared together. Bring along some pictures you took of that fun afternoon to give them. If they enjoyed coming to your party, consider inviting them to another little gathering this fall. Perhaps a small harvest party. They’ll look forward to it and you’ll be able to gage better how to make their next visit even more enjoyable!

Seniors look forward to spending time with family, sharing good food and being surrounded by love. If your senior is lucky enough to live in an assisted living home or other type of senior retirement community, they likely enjoy socializing with their friends every day during community events. But something a little out of the ordinary involving family, the sunshine and all things summer is sure to give them something to remember for months to come. Make this Labor Day memorable for them!

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