Long distance holidays with aging parents

Extended families are often scattered and it’s expensive to travel to be together for the holidays. If long distance, work, or other family obligations prevent you from being with your aging parents for the holidays, you can still celebrate the holidays with them. With a little creativity, you can make the holidays special for your parents by using Facetime, Skype, Google Hangout, or another mobile video-conference service.

The next time you visit your parents before the holidays, teach them how to use Facetime or Skype. This is a great way to keep in touch throughout the year, and allow your elderly parents to enjoy different aspects of the holiday season with you. Some holiday moments that you can enjoy together are Christmas concerts for grandchildren or opening gifts together.

For those who have extended family scattered across the country, a virtual holiday party is a great way for everyone to be involved. With Skype or Google Hangout, you can host an audio or video conference with multiple people for free. Prior to the virtual holiday party, make sure there’s a family member responsible for connecting at each location who understands the instructions to join and participate in the conference. During the virtual holiday party, family members can take turns greeting each other and sharing how they’re celebrating at their location. You could even sing a couple of favorite Christmas carols as a group, read the story of Christ’s birth, or pray together.

It’s important to also stay connected after the holidays with elderly family members. You could schedule weekly audio or video calls each week or send weekly email updates with photos. Also, don’t forget the importance of sending handwritten letters with photos. Your aging parents will love sharing these photos with others and placing them around their home.

These are just a few ideas to celebrate with aging loved ones from a distance. Please share additional ideas with others in the comment section below.

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